4 February 2016 – TKR Editorial

The Australian Open is over and Mr Djokovic and Ms Kerber have taken home $3.85 million each for winning the singles titles. Mr Murray and Ms Williams got a mere $1.9 million each for coming second. The total prize money amounted to $44 million. It’s a huge amount and those that contribute to the pot must consider it worthwhile.

Pernod Ricard, via its champagne brand Mumm, has lost the spraying rights for formula one drivers to slosh grog over each other, after not offering enough money. Now Pernod Ricard has withdrawn from Wimbledon, where Jacob’s Creek was the official wine. We asked why.

“Jacob’s Creek has enjoyed a very successful partnership with Wimbledon over the last five years; the association created excellent opportunities to drive Jacob’s Creek visibility among consumers. 2015 was the last year of our contract with the All England Lawn Tennis Club, however we continue to support other opportunities for Jacob’s Creek such as the current Australian Open.”

OK, but why? Did you not offer enough money?

“It is simply that the contract has naturally run its course after five years and we are now focusing our efforts on events such as the Australian Open.”

There was an article in the South China Morning Post by Nellie Ming Lee on January 30 saying the tradition of giving cognac at the lunar New Year is past its time, and now a good bottle of red wine will do the job just as well. Unfortunately, all the red wines that Ms Lee recommends are top-end Bordeaux, but we hope many top-end Australian reds also make the gift-giving grade.

Are the French right in insisting wine be served at a lunch for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani or are the Iranians correct in maintaining alcohol is against their faith so should be kept off the table?

The French maintain that bowing to Iranian demands is against their republican values. It’s a fair point but shouldn’t an effort be made to heal the rift? I have pounded the issue from as many angles as I can and can’t come to an answer I’m comfortable with.

Before arriving in France, President Rouhani was in Italy, where nude statues in Rome’s Capitoline Museums were covered with white cardboard before he and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi paid a visit.

Is that not going too far?

News from Japan says Chilean wine has overtaken French as the number one vinous import. Figures for 2015 show 51.5 million litres of Chilean wine imported, up 18.1 per cent.

The main reason put forward is the economic partnership agreement between Japan and Chile that came into being in 2007. As Australia is now also best pals with Japan, our 2015 wine exports to Japan increased 42 per cent in volume to 13 million litres and 16 per cent in value to $46 million.

The US GAIN (Global Agriculture Information Network) Report of May 1, 2015, said: “In 2014, the United States held an 8.8 per cent share of Japan’s US$1,052 million imported bottled wine market, by value. This was an increase from 8.6 per cent in 2013.”

Though 55 countries supply wine to Japan, 10 countries account for almost 99 per cent of the imported volume. It’s a mature market, as the Japanese have an alcohol consumption of 7.3 litres per capita (2011).

Australia needs to take market share from Chile, the US, France, Italy and Spain to advance, but price may be against this happening. Despite Wine Australia and others cheering the 2015 figures and kissing government bum for the Australia-Japan free trade agreement, can we remind them that in 2008 exports to Japan were running at $50 million, with the bottled average price being $5.74 a litre. By 2015 it had dropped to $5.16.

The chart below comes from Wine by Numbers and shows wine imports in Japan for the first nine months of 2015:

It’s not often I review a wine in this section of TKR but I think Mudgee Gold Shiraz Cabernet 2013 deserves space up front. The wine is a blend of Robert Stein shiraz, Vinifera cabernet sauvignon, Robert Oatley shiraz and Logan shiraz, all having won gold for their 2013 wines. There are just four Jeroboams and 700 bottles of this wine which are sold to raise money for the Mudgee region. The retail price per bottle is $60 and, ignoring the charitable aspect of the wine, it’s worth it and rates 93 points.

The new format for TKR is almost ready and I will be writing to all with renewed subscription offers. In fact, it will not be subscription, nor sponsorship. I have been advised you are all partners in the new venture and will be acknowledged as such.

Enjoy the coming week.

Tony

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