To hit the right note for smart drinkers we offer variety at keen prices

The interest when owning a liquor store is knowing the range. The Canberra store of 1975 offered a collection of malt whiskies, Cognacs and Armagnacs, obscure Eastern European spirits and liqueurs, the local range of Baitz, Continental and Vok liqueurs which gave customers the choice of three Curaçao (also known as Triple Sec or Cointreau) in white, orange or blue in large and half sizes making 18 products, plus all the beers I could find, and when asked an opinion on any beverage I knew the story. I enjoyed making cocktails, The Fine Art of Mixing Cocktails by David Embury being my bible, and this interest made me keen to introduce new tastes to customers.

Fun times, though I found wine the most interesting of the alcohols because of the taste, the staggering variety and the difficulty of mastering what was going on. Now it is all so simple, so I bring a message, keep at it as calm waters lie ahead.

Better quality wines in the 1970s and 1980 were two to four times the price of pleasant quaffing wines and then it all got messy as the wannabe experts arrived. Fortunately, you can drink very well with Trial Bin 930 Barossa Grenache Mataro Shiraz NV $10.80 and Kitts Creek Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz 2018 $13.80 as the price brings out the advantage of buying direct from a small group, located in the vineyards.

So that store, Farmer Bros, was my entry into wine, and while the table wine awakening was underway, as leading discounters we sold enormous quantities of beer and spirits. Wines meant fortified and table wine meant flagons and casks. While interest in bottled wine was growing, wine in casks and flagons was the engine, peaking at some 80% of the wine market, and declining slowly to settle around 30%.

Overtime the strong wine brands of 1980s and the discounting of these brands faded as the big producers ceded power to the supermarket chains that control the customer flow.

As well new market forces developed with the growth of the boutique wine movement. Alas they see their status being attached to the selling price which causes this old discounter to cough and splutter as they are absurd. Let me remind you there are better things to do with money than spend $100 for a bottle. You simply cannot make a wine so much better to be worth these sums and I note youthful consumers are turning to other beverages as that is how the market works. I’m glad I’m not ending my career selling $100 bottles to folk of my age.

Try these wines offering advanced tastes, the Colton and Hewett McLaren Vale Mataro 2016 $10.60 and Crayford Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2018 $12.50 at agreeable prices.

So Drink Widely Drink Well

David Farmer

Partner in Glug

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