Congratulations, pricey wine, own brands and film

Congratulations to Silos Estate for raising $32,000 at this this year’s Quackfest. The total raised over three years is close to $100,000. Proprietors Rajarshi and Sophie Ray said: “With this, so far we have contributed to 51 kids going to university and TAFE who would not normally have been able to do so (funding is ongoing).”

Your Wine Questions Answered by Jerry LockspeiserYour Wine Questions Answered by Jerry LockspeiserThis new ad is for Jerry Lockspeiser’s book, Your Wine Questions Answered, The 25 things wine drinkers most want to know.

Lockspeiser is chairman of Off-Piste Wines and an opinion piece writer for Harpers. The reason for TKR running the ad is that all the profit from the book will be donated to The Millione Foundation, a social enterprise he set up with two wine business friends to fund the building of primary schools in Sierra Leone. Working with leading international development charity ActionAid, the foundation has built five schools, giving 1500 children an education. They were funded through sales of the Millione wine brand, donations and fundraising marathons. Book sales will help to build the next school.

I have received a copy of the book for review, but didn’t get it in time for this week’s TKR.

This is a good place to inform readers that there will not be a TKR next week. It’s the winter break. OK, I know it’s spring, but winter just came and went and I haven’t had any time off since Christmas (and that includes most weekends).

Reviewing wines over the weekend I was considering the value of one retailing for more than $50. It’s on the pricey side but after internal debate I came down on the side of it being good value, and I said so. Reading a couple of articles on Sunday I came to realise that it’s damn cheap.

Grange, at about $750 a bottle, is also cheap compared to the release of the first white wine from Saint-Emilion-based Château Cheval Blanc. Le Petit Cheval Blanc 2014 is to go on sale in the UK at the end of month with a reported retail price of £100 ($173).

A sauvignon blanc at $173? True, I haven’t tasted it. And true, I would find it hard to justify that sort of money on my income. The reality is there are a huge amount of people on this planet that do have the resources to spend that amount of money on a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

Château Cheval Blanc is part of the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) group, which is controlled by Bernard Arnault. According to Wikipedia, he owns 43.5 per cent of LVMH and has 35 per cent of the voting rights. He is said to be the second richest person in France. No doubt Arnault can afford to buy wines costing hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars, euros or pounds.

An article in The Australian by Tony Perrottet on September 17 was headed, “Chinese wines on rise as Grace Vineyards, Chateau Changyu gain ground”. It deals with up-and-coming Chinese wines. Those featured are Chateau Changyu and Grace Vineyards, both of which offer wines over $100.

Again, I haven’t tasted any of these wines. Reports say they have something going for them, but over $100 worth of something?

Australia has a host of fine wines that in global terms are very cheap. The question being, how can we get the recognition for them that they deserve? This week’s review section is a mix of higher priced wines that I think deserve greater global recognition. Inevitably, this would lead to higher prices. But those with money, and not necessarily taste, want their money to mean something, and that means being able to use wealth for demonstration.

An article worth reading can be found in Off Licence News.  It was written by Martin Green and published on September 20. Several points I agree with, but I feel others are stretched out of proportion and a lot of old ground is covered. It’s amusing to hear brand managers bang on about Australia being trapped in the lower price sectors when it was their brands under previous managers that laid the traps.

Last week UK supermarket Tesco held a tasting in London. The focus was on its own brand range. The company has already reduced its wine range by 27 per cent (about 300 wines) and is now tweaking what remains to those that are best sellers at the best prices. The supermarket has 118 core wines and says sales have increased 2.9 per cent since June. Some Australian suppliers will have lost out, but those still stocked should be doing better. Among new entries to the Tesco Finest wine selection are two Australian wines. The newbies are:

  • Hautes Cotes de Nuit 2012 (£12, or $20.50)
  • Montagne St Emilion 2015 (£8)
  • Cahors Malbec 2015 (£8)
  • Passerina Terre di Chiete 2015 Italy (£6)
  • Spanish Tempranillo 2015 (£3.50)
  • Vina del Cura Rioja Reserva 2001 (£8)
  • Chilean Merlot 2015 (£7)
  • Chilean Carmenere 2015 (£6)
  • Limestone Coast Shiraz 2015 (£6)
  • Limestone Coast Merlot (£6)

I have been looking for a wine sponsor for the Byron Bay Film Festival. Six companies that I thought might be interested weren’t. It wasn’t all lack of interest. Partly it was marketing budgets already committed. This is a last-ditch attempt to garner support for what is becoming an internationally recognised film festival. For one sponsor the full requirement is as follows:

  • Drinks sponsors have worked/are working to a value of $5000 wholesale.
  • This can be all stock or part stock and part cash.
  • With Coopers last year it was about 40 per cent stock, 50 per cent cash and 10 per cent loan of fridges all to the value of $5000.

The stars are also coming, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald. Go look at this article in the Sydney Morning Herald 

As time is now short (the festival is in October) a quick response is required, the alternative to full sponsorship is that any donations of five cases will be appreciated and due recognition given during the festival.

Be good while I am away in Melbourne.


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