Large companies have a cost of goods advantage, yet they lost the drinker and now you pay.

Overstocks are appearing, so meet the Glug truck which brings our purchases home. Look closely at the eight barrels and you see the stamp, Francois Freres, the most expensive of French barrel makers. This would add $5 to $8 per bottle to our boutique makers prices yet what beautiful wines they made.

As for wineries and exports I have further upsetting news. The U.S. hedge fund Carlye Group, the owners of the large Accolade Wines, have wrecked it. Yet what does this mean to you?

Well, the Terrene Estate South Australia Rose 2022 mentioned last week is ready and unusually for Glug was purchased from a large group. I preach ‘drink what is in the glass’, and this led to the purchase. The benefit of large wineries is their combination of technical skills and a wide cost of goods advantage. They make high quality wine for one third the cost of boutique makers. And surely delivering consumers a good deal is the important job.

Meet the Glug truck which transports the boutique-small winery purchases back to the Glug winery. Depicted is a purchase of Riesling from the Clare Valley and last week eight barrels of beautiful reds from the Eden and Barossa Valley. Note the barrels are the ultra-expensive Francois Freres which alone adds $5-$10 per bottle to the small winery price.

In the early 1980s I exchanged letters with the new wine writer at The Australian, James Halliday, over an article listing his top ten wines which were all from boutiques. I asked why he didn’t include a few large company wines.

My letter listed 10 wines from large companies, available to all shop keepers that took the effort, which would beat his selection on quality, hands down, every day of the week. And importantly for customers, at a far lower price.

Back to the Carlye debacle. What is left of Accolade has passed to Australian Wine Holdco Limited (AWL) comprising Bain Capital, Intermediate Capital Group, Capital Four, Sona Asset Management and Terry Asset Management. What Holdco does worries me and where all the bits and pieces of Accolade end up this will not be good for consumers.

Caught up in this mess is Hardys, born in 1853, to re-emerge as what? I recall the 2008 overseas publication that tracks the worth of wine brands placed Hardys as the 2nd strongest global brand.

Isn’t this just capitalism at work, and should you care? Yes, because you enjoy your wine.

As large company brands like Orlando-Gramps, Lindemans, Hardys, Mildara, Stanley, Seppelts, Leo Buring, Rosemount, Wolf Blass, Jamieson’s Run, Seaview, Saltrams, Tollana, Queen Adelaide, etc, etc lose brand power they also lose sales volume, and you are the one that ends up paying.

Halliday and a few others got their wish that promoting the boutiques meant they could in time control the show and I must say watching the rise of 2000 boutiques has been quite an event. Yet buying their wines isn’t cheap.

Glug buys a tiny slice of the surplus of these boutiques allowing us to offer wines like Village Belle Barossa Valley Grenache 2022 and Trennert McLaren Vale Shiraz 2020. In this way the Glug price is far better than the makers. So let us retain our faith in the Glug truck to bring back the goods.

So, Drink Widely Drink Well

David Farmer

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