My Australian ‘Ah Ha’ moment…
Today marks my tenth day here in Australia with another week to go. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here – the people are kind and open to visitors (tourists), and of course the wine regions are amazing. The Aussies are spoiled with the choice of so many high quality wine regions.
To date, I’ve visited wineries (cellar doors) in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley with a trip to Yarra Valley planned for Friday and Saturday. I’ve also visited multiple wine shops and wine bars… and I’ve noticed two predominant themes… First, the obvious one – wine is a natural extension of life for Australians. Wine bars are packed, as are local wine shops and every restaurant that I’ve been too included a bottle of wine on every table (only equaled by the French).
The second theme I’ve noticed – my ‘ah-ha’ moment – is the fact that wine from America is virtually non-existent here!!! Yes, you read that correctly… virtually no wine from the US available here. I’ve been to numerous wine shops, the big super shops like Dan Murphy’s to the local boutique wine shops… I’ve visited wine bars and wineries and restaurants with deep wine lists… but NO American wine. Not even the obligatory bottle of Mondavi Cabernet, or the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, or the Sutter Home White Zin. WTF! (Update – I did find one bottle of Cristom Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at a local wine shop here in Melbourne)
Since my trip has been limited to Adelaide, Barossa, Hahndorf and Melbourne, I thought I might be missing the secret stash of American wine so I contacted fellow wine blogger, Edward at Winosapien from Perth, to inquire about the availability of American wine here in Australia.
Edward’s response… “odd and infuriating” regarding the lack American wine availability didn’t surprise me. I agree – how odd is it that American wine can be found virtually everywhere around the world… except in a few small villages in the Baltics and here in Australia.
I’ve pulsed others in the wine industry here and the answers I’ve received have ranged from a shoulder shrug at a large wine store, to babbling about the Australian palate not liking American wine to answers having to do with the Australian tax rate on wine (then why are there so many French and Italian wines here?). I’m not sure what the answer is, but I truly believe there is a market here for American wine!
Other than filling in white space and increasing my likelihood of developing carpel tunnel syndrome from all of this typing, what does all this mean? The absence of American wines here in Australia translates in to a HUGE opportunity for an enterprising entrepreneur with a working knowledge of the wine industry to focus his/her efforts on importing quality wines from the US.
Just one commoner’s observation…