Wine support lacking on Thanksgiving

Thursday November 24 is Thanksgiving Day in the US, when people come together to give thanks for the harvest. Pennsylvania-based wine writer Paul Vigna asked several local merchants what wines they would recommend to go with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Out of the 10 recommendations, six were French, one Italian, one Austrian, one Australian and only one American.

Vigna is not alone. Other US-based wine writers I have read have also gone heavy on imported wine for Thanksgiving.

So much for loyalty and supporting America. President-elect Trump and his supporters want to create jobs for Americans, but will Americans pay the price for domestic goods over imported?  Ironically, there are plenty of low priced American wines available.  The Australian was Schild Estate Riesling, Tweedies Gully Vineyard, Barossa Valley.

Alcohol education is very important: what alcohol is, how to use it and not abuse it.  Wine education is difficult. Those who are interested go for it, the majority don’t. It won’t be in my lifetime that Australians stop calling all sparkling wine champagne.

Making wine understandable for people who enjoy drinking it but don’t give a toss about the detail behind or surrounding it is not an easy task. I think the Woolworths-owned BWS chain has made a great move to get closer to its customers.

Go to the site https://bws.com.au/ and find the search facility. Type in “bubbles” and sparkling wines and champagnes appear. Want a cask but think of it as “goon”? Search for “goon” and all the cask wines appear. Using common words, even if they are technically slang, is a good way to connect with consumers. It came about through the BWS development team. BWS explained how it works:

“Basically when someone does a search it allocates ‘points’ to the word and then looks across different fields of the database. This is largely automated and will help bring up ‘Arras Sparkling’ for example.

“We then overlay this with search terms that people have looked for, but don’t generate a result automatically. Our team puts in a ‘hard fix’ which will map that term to the appropriate search results in the future. We put a lot in at the beginning of the site’s development, but will continue to monitor and add. Chardy for example, will now bring up chardonnay results. 

“The background is that this is all aligned to what BWS stands for in the community as a convenience offer. It is everyone’s ‘local’ and needs to speak and be fun and relevant to the local community.”

The company made a point of saying: “We will not hard fix any words which could be seen to encourage excessive or abusive consumption or appeal to young people.”

Congratulations to Sue Hodder and Sarah Pidgeon of Wynns Coonawarra Estate for being jointly named Winemaker of the Year at the 2016 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Awards for Excellence.

Apparently they have been making wine together for 17 years. They have been responsible for many great wines. Long may they continue.

An article on Australian shiraz by Joe Czerwinski that appeared in Wine Enthusiast Magazine on November 21 is worth reading. It starts:

The pendulum of style swings swiftly in the world of Australian wine. Chardonnay, once broad and richly oaked, swung toward slimness and finesse, then rebounded to become fleshy yet refined – all in just the last decade.

“Shiraz hasn’t been immune to change, either. Momentum had been building for cool-climate shiraz when Glaetzer-Dixon’s 2010 Mon Père Shiraz from Tasmania won the Jimmy Watson Trophy in 2011. Given annually by the Royal Melbourne Wine Show to the country’s best one-year-old red wine, the award had been long dominated by big, voluptuous South Australian offerings. The selection of Mon Père crystallised in the minds of the wine-drinking public that wines favouring perfume and spice over ripeness and weight could receive critical acclaim.”

I repeat: it really is worth a read.

Happy week.

Tony

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