Counterfeit wines and counterfeit experts, wine show arguments

It’s been quite a week, depending on what direction one’s interests face. Roger Federer won a record eighth Wimbledon title, becoming the tournament’s oldest champion, and British actress Jodie Whittaker was named the 13th Doctor Who and the first woman Doctor.

I’m sure there was plenty of news from the political arena, with war, terrorism and mayhem continuing, but it was hard to find among the Doctor Who and Mr Federer news.

Dodging the important issues, plus those of flood, famine and man’s inhumanity to man, let’s turn TKR attention to wine.

I received the below this week. It is very kind and much appreciated.

“As a small grower/maker I have read your content over many years. Well done for your continued views. I have never been able to afford the subs, again small grower syndrome, but the penny dropped on your good work in recently going through your report. You are telling it like it is, especially when we are of little voice (me), yet you have the independence to make it real. I wonder why I now see you in this light – have you changed or am I worn out? Anyway, for all your work, can you flick me your bank details (not a scam) so I can drop a penny in your hat.” 

Not one penny or many dollars could equal the worth of those words.

How serious is wine counterfeiting? How much of the world’s wine production is involved? Who is capable of detecting counterfeit wines?

Moving from these thoughts to the cynical side, most confidence (con) trickery is built not so much on the skill of the con artists, the male/female/couple/gang perpetrating the con, but the greed of the victim who wants what is on offer, letting caution and common sense fall away in the need to own something that no or few others have.

I’m fairly accepting of villains and victims; there will always be plenty of both. Between these two sectors are those who police, upholding what is right and just and protecting the victim, who is often weaker than the villain.

There has been extended debate going on about fake wine, how much there is, and what should be done about it. Thus far I have read the various comments but not become involved in any correspondence. But:

The time has come,” the Walrus said, “

To talk of many things:

Of shoes – and ships – ­and sealing-wax –

Of cabbages – and kings –

And why the sea is boiling hot –

And whether pigs have wings.” 

Those who know The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll will also know that the walrus and carpenter conned the oysters far along the beach with the purpose of eating them.

I care very little for wine collectors; in my mind, wine is made to be drunk, preferably with friends’ intelligent conversation and much laughter. Food can be included, but once one gets involved in food-wine matching I’m out the door.

While wine collectors are on my mind, there is a character, Scott Evers, who is saying that after he completes training, he will be “the only licensed and accredited TCM [The Chai Method] Master Wine Authenticator in Australia & New Zealand”.  

I think Mr Evers is over-promoting himself. I look closer at what he is offering in the Australian Wine News section.

In the same section we have an article on wine shows. The issue of their worth has risen again in the past week or so. I wonder if there will ever be consensus on shows and a points system, and one needs a scoring system if there are bronze, silver and gold medals to be handed out, plus trophies. It really is old, old ground, but it’s unsettled ground, and rocky terrain, as the article reveals.

The subject certainly elicits strong and diverse opinions, as you can read, with Huon Hooke, Robert Joseph, Tim Knappstein, Richard Warland, Larry Lockshin, Debra Meiburg MW and Kim Brebach all weighing into the debate.

The Wine Australia export report to the end of June 2017 is out and the figures are looking good. We will cover them in greater detail next week, but for now:

Total wine export value was $2.31 billion, up 10 per cent.

The China star is ascending, increasing 44 per cent, worth $607 million for the 12 months.

The UK star in descending, falling 7 per cent to $341 million.

The American star is in abeyance, showing a slight increase of 3 per cent to $464 million.

Two other markets round out the top five wine export destinations, which in total account for 74 per cent of all Australian wine exports.

Hong Kong and Canada are both down, Hong Kong by 8 per cent to $114 million. This is not a disaster, as more wine is being shipped direct to mainland China, which will have affected the Hong Kong figures.

Canada is more disturbing: down 5 per cent to $168 million. As said, we will look at the report in greater detail next week.

Until next week

Good karma, enjoyable drinking and love in your life


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