Wine columns down, natural wine up, dollar ???

Columns crumbling

Wine columns in Australian newspapers and magazines have been in decline for some time. Those that remain have in the main been reduced in size or frequency. Being brutal, one can understand why. Far fewer read them than the writers like to admit, and the standard wine review is not difficult to write, especially if a well-written media release accompanies the sample bottle sent to the newsroom.

Still, it’s uncomfortable to see columns disappear, and now another couple have been cut back. A note from Rick Allen informs that the Manly Daily has decided to run wine only on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, The Maitland Mercury has requested Rick slant his column towards local wine, in this case from the Hunter Valley.

Allen: “So with this in mind I, along with my wife Brenda – also a journalist with a love of food and wine – will start devoting more time and energy to our blog It will give us the opportunity to write and promote things outside of the Hunter Valley.”

Natural progression

I admit to not having been a great supporter of “natural wine”. The few I have tasted have not convinced me they are worth the money or the effort required in tasting/drinking them.

But times change, and I assume so have the wines. Jancis Robinson has written a fascinating article on wines made in the so-called natural creed. Go here to read the full article.

In the Australian Wine section of this week’s report there is an article on sulphur in wine and the gadgets coming to market that promise to remove it. I think that’s worth a read too.

One basket

Is Pernod Ricard (PR) putting all its eggs in one basket by selling Paddy Whiskey to US drinks company Sazerac? PR may think it is safe because it also owns Jameson, a huge-selling brand in the US, but could it not do better by marketing Paddy as an alternative?

The media release says the move is to streamline the portfolio. Maybe that is so, but Paddy will also become a competitor to Jameson in the US.

We forecast regrets when Paddy gains market share from Jameson and PR can’t understand where it went wrong.  It won’t be the first time. Just look at the exercise it undertook to consolidate several brands like St Hugo and St Helga under the Jacob’s Creek brand, combine this with ignoring the Wyndham and other brands. It appears lessons learnt from previous mistakes is not part of this company’s education.

Dollar tipped to drop

In a recent interview, Dr Shane Oliver, AMP Capital’s chief economist and head of investment strategy, was asked his opinion on where the Australian dollar would be at the end of this year. He said:

“The downtrend in the value of the Australian dollar, that has been in place since it peaked at $US1.10 in 2011, is likely to continue. The interest rate differential in favour of Australia will continue to narrow, making it less and less attractive for foreign investors to park their cash here. Commodity prices will remain weak and the Aussie dollar is likely to undertake its usual undershoot of fair value. Expect a fall to around $US0.60 by the end of 2016. Of course, as we have seen over the last four years, it won’t go down in a straight line.”

If this happens it should be a boost for exports.

The monkeys are learning new tricks

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


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