Dan's Blog


Friday, June 29, 2018

This magnificent, vibrant and fantastic industry of ours – the Australian wine industry – which has led the world in oh, so many ways over the last half a century, in technology, innovation and varietal experimentation – unfortunately, has within it a small handful of greedy/conniving shysters.

There are a small number of people who disregard the rules which have enabled us to take our wines to the world with the confidence that every wine is genuine and legal. Instead, they take short-cuts and do shonky things for short-term gain, which jeopardise the industry globally.

Here are one or two examples of how short-term greed can cast a shadow on the veracity of the whole of our industry:

MISLEADING MEDALS:  There are very clear and precise rules on how and what medals can be applied to bottles of wine. They have to show that the award was from a recognised wine show, it has to show the class that it was won in and can only be applied to the specific wine that won that particular award.

The first example has medals on the bottle that say “INTERNATIONAL WINE JUDGE”….. – What the flock? Was the wine the judge? Or just the guy who came up with the idea of putting something totally irrelevant and in breach of the rules on the bottle passing it off as gold medal wins in real wine shows. I sincerely hope that this wine isn’t being exported otherwise Wine Australia is failing in one of its most basic of tasks - Label Integrity.

The second one is equally in breach of the rules as it says “GOLD MEDAL & TROPHY WINNING WINEMAKER” – Big whoopty do! Who cares if he/she has won unspecified medals in the past, as obviously their effort on this wine didn’t win anything! This is illegal and deceptive.

WINE THAT ISN’T REALLY WINE:  The attached image shows “Copper” Australian Red – from Australian Vintage Limited. It was found three years ago sitting amidst the Australian wines in a UK chain wine retailer. BUT, if you look in the red circled bit, it is a WINE BASED DRINK.  I have no problem with them making wine based drinks (probably wine plus water) but I have a serious problem when they label it to look like Australian wine and it is not.

These are only a couple examples of the workmanship of some of the dishonest/disingenuous people that are, alas, in our industry. We need to call them out on each occasion that they do something dishonest that could jeopardise the great name and standing that our industry has in the wine world.

We need to prod Wine Australia into getting their “flying squad” to examine these breaches and prosecute the offenders. I say, cancel their licences!!

If nothing is done, well then I might as well organise the Morphett Vale International Wine Show for all our clients, where each one of their wines will win a gold medal. Oh, and for an extra $200 their wine can win a trophy!! Hey, we are not cheapskates! It would be as meaningful and relevant as the examples cited above.

Please keep your eyes peeled for this sort of dishonesty and report it straight away, so that we can keep out wonderful industry safe and well.

Thank you and Cheers!


This week I am talking about the beautiful, scenic, Domäne Wachau, which is only a 90klm drive from Vienna. I recently visited there the day before VieVinum started in Vienna.

Domäne Wachau is a fascinating place, originally developed by the monks a very long time ago, with the initial underground cellars being dug out in the early 18th century. More recently it became a co-operative which is owned by around 250 grape growing families, who ask for and listen to advice as to how to get the best quality out of their little patch of the region.

The Domäne chief winemaker is Roman Horvath MW, who explained that they make around 70 different wines from their mainstream, bigger volume, regional Grüner Veltliner through to Grüner and Riesling from particular sections of particular vineyards. Most of the vineyards are on the steep hillsides that line the Danube. This way the vines and the soil obtain maximum warmth from their greater angle to the sun and the reflected warmth of the mighty Danube. All of these vineyards are worked by hand due to their narrowness and steepness.

Domäne Wachau 2017 GRüNER VELTLINER FEDERSPIEL RIED PICHLPOINT: Wow! What a mouthful of name this wine has, but also, WOW – what a superb wine! This lively, green-yellow wine has gorgeous aromas of apples, peaches and even a whiff of quince on the bouquet. The palate is redolent with excellent fruity characteristics, a hint of spices, crisp, steely minerality and vibrant acidity that refresh the palate. The finish has a minerally, almost salty/savoury character to it, and in lingers for eons. This is a brilliant wine which is a real CLASS ACT!

By the way, they also have bottles of Traubensaft (unfermented Grüner Veltliner grape juice), which can be mixed with a drop of soda to make a very invigorating drink, to enjoy on a hot, humid Austrian day.

So, if you are ever going to Vienna, make sure you make the time to go and visit Domäne Wachau – just an hour or so down the road in a divine piece of Austria. The venue and the location are drop dead gorgeous, the people are wonderfully friendly and the wines are superb.

You don’t have to miss out though if you can’t get to Austria as some of the Domäne Wachau wines are available here at Dan Murphy’s.