The world of wine is a big place and to create a growing recognition for a country or a brand requires sustained effort. Remarkable then that Penfolds Grange has gained acceptance as a desirable collectable by the wealthy, now being seen on par with the Bordeaux first growths.
Alas those less fortunate and with a desire to become fashionable are attracted to the use of the Grange name in marketing efforts that can be termed ‘by association’. Likely those at Treasury Wines, the owners of Grange, take the view that borrowing Grange is part of ‘all advertising is good advertising’.
Recently the owner of the Yarra Valley winery Levantine Hill, property developer Elias Jreissati released entries into the collectables field, the Levantine Hill Optume Shiraz and Levantine Hill Optume Cabernet priced at $800 a bottle.
The Australian’s Eli Greenblatt, 24th March prompted by the press release and interviews with Mr Jreissati and the winemaker Paul Bridgeman mentioned Penfolds and Grange, nine times, quoting several unflattering remarks.
‘Grange is one of the greatest wines in Australia and certainly one of the greatest wines in the world,’ added Mr Jreissati, ‘but It‘s not my cup of tea, Grange is a very Australian wine and so is Hill of Grace … but you know, we are about making a cool climate, sophisticated, silky wine.
Mr Bridgeman said Optume offers a cooler climate alternative to the current crop of luxury reds. It is more finessed and complex rather than an ‘in your face’ big red.
No mention of how the wine ranks with Mount Mary or Yarra Yering yet taking free use of the Grange name and then bagging warm climate reds.
I have noted similar comments over many decades and these ill-considered outbursts must stop. All Australian wines are equal. Australian premium wines are not selling well in export markets and something is very wrong. The image we create is up to us and Levantine Hill is not rowing in a different boat to Penfolds Grange.