Wine Australia dodging the issues behind $5.3 million shiraz terroir grant

This week’s TKR is dominated by the $5.3 million grant that Wine Australia (WA) has announced for research into shiraz terroir. We have acquired comment far and wide, and not all are happy with WA’s autocratic stunt. Keeping it simple:

  • There is little opposition to the research, but $5.3 million is a lot of money.
  • There is a lot of opposition to using sommeliers to judge the results.
  • WA has failed to provide any evidence to support its claim that this research will lead to greater global recognition for Australian wine and higher prices for all Australian wine.
  • WA has failed to answer the question of whether all the board agreed to this research and whether all the board agreed to the claims that WA makes regarding recognition and price.
  • If the board does not unanimously back the research and claims, is this a personal crusade of deputy chair Brian Croser? WA has not said.

I think it’s an article all should read and one that will only benefit from further contribution. You’ll find it in Australian Wine News.

An article by Bridget Carter and Scott Murdoch in The Australian on 6 February put forward some points re the possible public offering of Accolade Wines in the first half of this year. They say Accolade’s owner, private equity firm CHAMP, may keep Accolade in its portfolio:

“CHAMP managing director John Haddock may secure an equity investor for the business before rolling it into its third fund and holding on to the business for the medium term.”

The journalists put forward the theory that if CHAMP keeps Accolade, it may add bulk with the acquisition of Australian Vintage (AV). With CHAMP having acquired several top end brands from the Lion wine business, this may work, but one wonders why CHAMP would bother.

Accolade could develop more brands and go after the market sector that Australian Vintage holds via direct competition. The point being: at the cheap end it’s all about cost of production and very slim margins. If, as the article implies, CHAMP wants to follow the lead of Treasury Wine Estates and do better at the top end of the market with larger margins, acquiring AV is not the way to go.  The story continues and will keep us all interested.

Good karma.

Tony

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