Australia’s biggest producers are to blame for the country’s wine crisis because they just don’t understand fine wine, Australian fine wine kingpin Brian Croser says.
Speaking in Adelaide at the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society conference, Croser savaged the top ten producers – which produce about 75% of the nation’s wine.
‘The biggest problem for the fine wine community of Australia is the negative and deteriorating image problem created for all Australian wine by the behaviour and travails of the branded commodity wine industry,’ Croser said.
The main problem was the big producers’ ‘misdirected’ urge to dominate the fine wine sector as well as the commodity or bulk sectors.
Croser, founder of the premium Petaluma and Tapanappa wineries, and Decanter Man of the Year 2004, attributed the current crisis to several planting booms during the past 40 years.
‘The desperation of hot inland grape producers and branded commodity wine producers to retain relevance in the very competitive global market has dominated policy, publicity and the image of Australian wine for the past decade,’ he said.
But the major producers had also attempted to dominate the fine wine sector with much of key region plantings being either owned or contracted to them.
‘Unfortunately and inevitably their appetite for fine wine grapes has not been matched with their ability to sell the wine,’ he said.
‘Their misdirected competitive urge to dominate the fine wine arena, as they rightly dominate the commodity wine arena, has precipitated a transfer of potential fine wine grapes to the commodity wine endeavour.’
In his broadside, Croser said corporate culture, and the ‘failure to recognize the essential differences between branded commodity wine and fine wine’ was ultimately to blame.
Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide