TKR New Format, Partners and Woolworths new CEO, Hipster Aldi, ProWein

This is the first edition of TKR going out to more people around the world than ever before. Not all is in place yet, but we are getting there thanks to Tracey at Hummingbird Media. For those who want news, it’s here. Readers looking for analysis of reports or financial half-year results are also catered for. If this is not your scene, go straight to reviews or another section. Not interested in wine reviews? Skip the wine review page (though it has what I think is a decent article on riesling this week).

TKR Partners

We really want the Partners Directory page  to grow and become more interactive, so please consider a listing. Comments are also welcome on any aspect of wine.

I have almost finished sending all subscribers of TKR an email with the new proposals. As expected, there’s been a mix of responses. I don’t think I’m in for great riches this coming year. In fact, 2016 may go down in my personal calendar as the year of the diet. The year after may be the same. It’s fortunate I have a few kilos to shed. I’m keeping fingers crossed for financial year 2017-18.

Many of those I contacted are either considering the new proposal or have not responded. Please consider and get back to me, as I do want to get the new TKR up and running, or at least gently strolling.

I’m still looking for wines to auction for the charity tasting. I know all sorts of people are on the scrounge to wineries, so I understand if you don’t want to back this event, but the odd magnum or bottle for the auction would be appreciated.

Paul Evans Departs

The big industry news last Friday was the announcement that Paul Evans is stepping down as CEO of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA). According to the media release he is off to Melbourne to “take up a position with a corporate”. I did ask if he was staying in the wine business (Treasury Wine Estates is headquartered in Melbourne), but he skirted around that question. He did answer these two questions:

  • What do you consider your best achievement at WFA in your time at the helm?
  • What haven’t you achieved but would have liked to at WFA?

His answers can be found in the Australian section below. I think Evans has worked hard and carried out difficult tasks while being underfunded. Some of the comments in TKR probably haven’t helped him at times, but overall I think I have been supportive.

Brad Banducci new Woolworths CEO

Also changing roles this past week is Brad Banducci, who has been appointed CEO and managing director of Woolworths Ltd.

Banducci is also currently MD of Woolworths Food Group, a role he will retain until the company finds a suitable candidate to fill the position. Prior to taking this role Banducci was head of Woolworths Liquor, a job in which he was very successful. Banducci knows Woolworths inside out, so will take on the new job with more understanding than an outside appointment would.

Banducci takes on the top job just as Woolworths has announced a loss of $973 million for the half-year to January 3. This was in part the result of the Masters home improvement debacle. Tackling Wesfarmers’ Bunnings looked to be unwise from the beginning. In reverse, Wesfarmers, via Coles’ big-box liquor retailer First Choice, has not been great competition to Woolworths’ Dan Murphy’s.


Rubbing salt into the Woolworths wound, Coles’ half-year to December 31, 2015, declared an earnings increase of 5.6 per cent to $945 million. Revenue was up 3.1 per cent to $20.087 million. Food and liquor contributed $16.496 million.


Aldi has played a role in the performances of both Coles and Woolworths. The duo ignored the German interloper, being overconfident about their ability to retain market share, customer loyalty and high margins.

For reasons I’m sure even Aldi cannot fully explain, the German chain has changed from being a place where poor people shop to being a hipster store. Consumers talk about shopping at Aldi. They don’t have conversation about a trip to Coles or Woolies.

Aldi has announced it is to close its online liquor store. It would be good to know the full reasons. Perhaps it’s the difficulty of shipping wine all over the country as the chain moves into South and Western Australia. Unfortunately, Aldi is not prone to comment.

Australia Day tasting in London

The latest newsletter from the Wine Australia (WA) London office tells of its success at the Australia Day tasting, which had 1230 attendees. My first reaction was “very good, well done”. Thinking about it more, I’m not so sure. It’s too many. How many were worthwhile and how many were out for a jolly at Australia’s expense? There are not as many independents as there used to be, or wine writers or buyers. There are probably more sommeliers than there used to be when they were known as wine waiters, so who were these people? Perhaps the team in the UK can provide a breakdown.


ProWein is coming up. Apparently the Wine Australia stand will have 46 exhibitors, showing more than 500 wines from 21 regions, and a program of events. It’s been worthwhile in the past. Let’s hope it is again. Good luck to all who attend.

Whatever the coming week brings, let it also contain good karma.


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