In the Autumn edition of Selector magazine Tasting Panellist Christian Gaffey wrote a passionate piece on the strength of families in the Australian wine industry. As the new vintage wines are being released, we thought it timely to revisit this important message of being aware of the origins of your wine.
The Australian wine industry was built on family names such as McWilliam’s, De Bortoli, Brown, Miranda, Cassegrain, Tulloch, Tyrrell’s and Drayton’s who’ve allowed us to put faces to the drops in our glasses and given some understanding of the hard graft that goes into making them. However, some time ago the Australian wine industry started to become corporatised. It was seen by the suits as a place to make fast money and subsequently family brands started to be taken over by corporates: think names like Knappstein, Wynns, and Goundry to name just a few.
For a while things went well, but unfortunately the wine industry was just too close to farming for the corporate juggernaut to get it right. Now they’ve had some time in the industry, the corporates are starting to realise that it’s just too hard. They are breaking up companies and selling off brands and infrastructure in an attempt to salvage some of their poorly managed investments. Families, on the other hand, have pulled together, united by an unequalled passion for their product that sees them make it through the hard times and celebrate the wins. Without them, the industry would be a much poorer place and the quality would definitely be compromised.
As you open your next bottle remember everything that goes into getting it to you. There is something very rewarding when you think that the whole process has been driven by family passion. So when choosing your next bottle of wine, bear in mind that a wine that appears to be from a family name may be marketed to look that way. Careful research reaps the rewards of authentic family passion.