Who looks after the interest of the consumer – not wine writers or giant retailers?

Grenache is a significant variety, a natural for our climate and of the varieties left for you to discover is the most complex. Recognition is fifty years late though soon the year of Grenache will arrive and stay.

A month back a small grower-maker contacted us and later arrived with a sample of Barossa Valley Grenache from 2023. Simply astounding. A deep, crimson rose in colour and packed with complex, palate textures. I went back for another glass. Now take from the cupboard one of those outrageous giant glasses and splash in a Glug Grenache, I trust you have in stock, to understand what is happening.

So this Grenache is released today as Crayford Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2023, a significant wine though start slowly and let the magic appear. Other recent bottlings that exceeded my expectations are Knotts Eden Valley Nero D’Avola 2021 and Glug ‘Primis’ Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2022. And keep up your stocks of the 2021 reds from the Barossa Valley and the other warm climate SA districts.

Also do not be ashamed of Glug The Regions Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2021 because it is cheap. This Shiraz has wow factor as Wolf Blass discovered when he first made Langhorne Creek wines in the 1960s. This German immigrant was not to be told which districts were the best, and remained, always the outsider.

The old World changed so big retailers and wine writers went upmarket. They believe only fools pay under $20 and as for less than $10-well that’s the pits. Yet I guarantee they cannot tell the difference with the proviso that I do the choosing.

One job at Glug is to outthink the market. When a market is working well, in this case the bulk wine market, a tiny player is reduced to seeking crumbs around the edges. The two big retailers, the Endeavour Group (ex Woolworths) and Coles, are no longer devoted to finding the best deals for customers, preferring to build internal wine companies focussed on house brands at highish margins. The Dan Murphy I knew in the 1990s given today’s surplus would be smashing all other retailers with deal after deal.

As well our large traditional wine companies no longer exist and the agglomeration of these as Accolade (Hardys), Treasury (Penfolds) and Jacobs Creek (Orlando) now seek high margin sales having lost interest in the volume trade. As the bulk market slides into disarray, it impacts all and we find small wineries are now keen to talk directly with us.

Our advantage is knowing the quality we seek is scarce to rare. There is a time to negotiate on price and a time to please as we want the first chance with about 20 small wineries each vintage.

Last week the First Choice (Coles) chain of big boxes which compete with Dan Murphy released a new range called Wise Wolf with an Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and a Limestone Coast Chardonnay. Yours for $25. At the bulk prices they could negotiate these could have been knocked out at $8.50. As well they irritate me because the consumer snap test asks-could they be confused with Wolf Blass.

Our wine writers lost the plot decades ago and now explain how pleasure in wine can only be found at the high-end while the low-end need not exist for all they care. They do not mention that 51% of wine exports to the U.S. come from one single brand, the low-end Yellow Tail. To explain why seems to be beneath their dignity.

A couple of Glug low end reds you will enjoy are Terrene Estates South Australia Cabernet Merlot 2017 and Borderland Tumbleweed South Australia Shiraz Viognier 2022. 

So, Drink Widely Drink Well

David Farmer


P.S. Glug uses the slogan ‘One of Australia’s most trusted and knowledgeable online wine retailers’ which we took from Google. Themes from recent letters I used in an article for Wine Business Monthly to be published in May-June. Later this may be posted on Glug. The topic-the Wine Industry Crisis.

Shopping Cart