Smart buying means three things

Quality, Price and You finding retailers that understand the first two.

I confess to now and again taking advantage of the gullibility of customers. We all want to drink better wine, yet you know the catch, how to achieve this without spending a heap more or being taken for a ride?

Knowing the topic well allows me to be your guide and I start by splitting the question into three parts. What do you know about defining quality, is there such a thing as a fair price, and where to find the best buys.

Champagne and perfume reach the pinnacle of French marketing and oh what fun we had messing with house branded Champagnes from the co-ops. Customers never noted how unpleasant they were as the bubbles masked all. Chill our Philip Schaffer Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV and it will deliver most of what you want while the crowd-pleaser is the fragrant Philip Schaffer Juliana Moscato NV.

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.

I use the weeks collection of stories to explain, how difficult it is to decide what is quality, which regions offer the best mix of quality and price, and where do you go to buy the bargains.

First story is about how common it is to create the brand first and what goes in the bottle later. Think Prosecco and Champagne, indeed so many sparkling wines qualify. Mr Tom Ford the CEO of Treasury Wines 15th February 2024 tells us; ‘Premium portfolio NSR declined 13.9%, driven by lower shipments of 19 Crimes Modern tier innovations released in 1H23, while the 19 Crimes Classics tier performed in line with the prior year’. 19 Crimes was a marketing invention with the wine an afterthought and at last the U.S. punters are reacting.  Such silliness is not in the interest of the common-sense wine drinker, and I pray this invented brand collapses. The lesson, avoid all frivolous and celebrity brands and shops that recommend them as the quality and price can never balance.

Next, how customers ignored experts and found quality and a fair price in an unfashionable district. Naked Wines is now the largest on-line retailer beginning with a few wineries in 2014. One was Pfeiffer Wines, situated on the banks of the Murray River, at Wahgunyah near Rutherglen, and part of the despised Murray Basin. Jen Pfeiffer is now a Naked Wines legend which shows that voters do not believe the experts about quality and of course they are right-again. So not Yarra Valley, Margaret River, or Adelaide Hills rather the banks of the muddy Murray River. Think about that before you reject a wine from Griffith.

And I return to that American legend, Robert Parker, now seen as irrelevant though not by Glug. By 2003 American wine merchants were scouring the Adelaidean Mount Lofty Range, S.A. seeking Parker style bargains. And briefly the Barossa Valley became the height of fashion; ‘Regions largely unheard of became household names among wine connoisseurs. The Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale’s wines of massive richness and intensity gave consumers something they could not find anywhere else in the world, said Robert M. Parker Jr., Wine Advocate 1/12/2003.

To buy well think outside the circle. Glug does this with every purchase and this is made easier by setting up in the globally unfashionable home of big reds, the Barossa Valley.

Drink Langdorf Barossa Valley Shiraz 2019 and Fareham Estate Clare Valley Riesling 2022 and you are doing O.K. We made the first and the second came from a fashionable boutique, no names of course.

So, Drink Widely Drink Well

David Farmer