Lions Club Wine Auction Fundraiser

The tasting, dinner and auction held on April 2 to raise money for local good causes administrated by the Bangalow Lions Club raised more than $4000. I am deeply grateful to the companies listed below for their generosity:

  • Accolade Wines
  • Aldi
  • Casella Family Wines
  • Delatite Wines
  • Majella
  • Pernod Ricard Australia
  • Pinnacle Drinks
  • Shingleback
  • Vasse Felix

For the Tony Keys auctioneering experience have a look at the video below…


The fuss over supermarket own brands continues. TKR thinks the whole issue is over-stewed and it’s about time those involved in or associated with the Australian wine industry focused on real issues. There is a view that outing own brands in supermarkets would somehow help small wineries. TKR takes the counter view: small wineries have to learn how to help themselves.

Sue Mitchell, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on April 4, suggested there could be a supermarket price war next year sparked by Woolworths as it attempts to increase sales and stop the advance of Aldi. If a price war breaks out margins will be cut, profits reduced and damage inflicted to one or more of the contestants. Great for the consumer, as they get cheaper tucker.

Aldi is also stirring the pot in the UK. It has doubled its market share in the past four years to 5.8 per cent and risen to the sixth largest supermarket in the country. Like Coles and Woolworths, UK supermarkets are reducing prices, and in some cases staff, to compete. In an interview with The Guardian, published on April 2, UK Aldi CEO Matthew Barnes said:

“We know many customers who now do full shops with us began with wine. They see we’ve won an award, come in and try it, are blown away by the quality and start to pick up other things.”

Will CHAMP private equity float Accolade Wines on the Australian stock exchange in September? No one knows, other than CHAMP, but it generates a great deal of speculation in the media. CHAMP will float when it feels the time is right, and may choose London. It’s how well the company performs after the float that counts. It’s going to be a very interesting three to five years following the listing, whenever that may be. Currently there is an assumption that because Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is doing so well, Accolade would do the same. But it’s a very different set-up, with TWE going the premium route and Accolade more middle of the road in its wine portfolio. There are plenty of common points, one of which is that Accolade has a good selection of premium wines, including the Grant Burge range, so could in time acquire the reputation that Penfolds has. We will see.

Meanwhile, adding some class to the Casella Family Brands portfolio is the Peter Lehmann brand. Casella snapped it up in 2014 for a mere $57 million. According to reports, Casella Family Brands has recorded a $41 million profit on sales of $394 million, which is a welcome announcement after a couple of tight years. It also acquired Coonawarra based Brand’s Laira from McWilliam’s last year, which should add more gloss to the company.

Earl Happ has written an article expanding on his comment posted last in last week’s TKR. It can be found in the Other Articles section. Happ says:

“This explanation might stimulate a contribution from those who take an interest in weather and climate as all good farmers should. To preface the article let me tell you that in the last 16 years it has been realised that the major ‘natural modes’ (nothing to do with man) of climate change involve shifts of atmospheric mass from high altitudes to low latitudes and into the opposite hemisphere. This shift is generated in the winter hemisphere and it changes climate.  However, that is as much as is known, as you can see if you visit this website 

“The cause of these shifts is ‘unknown’ but the authors of the website are not looking very hard. What I write in my article is material to the cause of climate change and as far as I can see this form of climate change is the only bull in the paddock.”

Whatever the coming week brings, let it be good for you.


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