Samples, connecting themes, Wine Society

It’s coming to the year’s end. Because of the disruption to normal work practice that Christmas and the summer holidays bring, there will not be a great deal to report over the next month. Next week will be the last TKR for 2016 and we won’t be back until 19 January.

Not that I will be idle. This year there has been a vast increase in the number of wine samples I receive. I do review them but can only publish about a dozen reviews in the weekly TKR.

I’m looking at ways to get all of them published, which may involve me sending out more than one notification each week.

Several interesting questions about reviews have been raised this year. Here are the answers:

  • No, I do not charge for reviews (it would be good if I could).
  • No, I will not send you a copy of the review for your blessing before I publish it.
  • I really do want retail price on the bottle.
  • Sorry, I can’t inform you when a review is published. It’s up to you to look at TKR or the new format each week to see if your wine has been reviewed.
  • Yes, you can use the review in any which way, so long as true accreditation is given to me and The Key Report.

There are some other gripes, which may or may not be applicable. Sending information via email is OK, but (and this is my failing) I can’t always remember what name the email was sent under, therefore please put the price on the bottle.

I am happy to take any readers’ suggestions re reviews and how to make the best of them.

Anyhow, from the future to the present. There are strong connecting themes running through this week’s report. Accolade Wines is linked with indicative pricing and frankly insulting and exploiting Riverland growers with its 2017 pricing, which is linked with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, which is, in my opinion, showing weakness and being submissive to its members, who appear to be acting in complete self-interest.

There is also an article titled “Insular wine folk”. Insular in the sense that they don’t often look at wine’s full competition such as craft beer, cider and gin. The reviews this week are on the Aldi wine range. They are indeed very good.

The Wine Society was well supported by its suppliers in its finial years. When it finally capitulated in July this year selling 75 per cent of the business to Australian Wine Finance, a company backed by Fogarty Wine Group and supported by McWilliam’s Wines it was said to owe suppliers $4.2 million.

A new company was formed TWS Wholesale. At the time it was intimated the money raised from the sale plus a $3 million bank facility would clear the slate.

It somewhat surprised suppliers this week to receive notification which includes this dollop of drivel

“We are all too aware that many Wine Society suppliers, such as yourselves, have provided very generous support through the ongoing supply of product over recent years, showing great patience and resilience as trading terms have been stretched. The Board and management of TWS Wholesale recognise this and will work to ensure that supplier relations are normalised in coming months and years.”

Which translates to suppliers being paid around 10 per cent of the debt by June 2017 with the remainder possibly being settled in, well in years to come. Its properly the best the society could do but it’s still abusing the suppliers and the Society should have shut up shop at least three years ago.

Until next week, be safe and happy. Christmas brings a great deal of tension as well as fun so take time to step back and relax.


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