The failure of many winemakers to attend the Brisbane Wine Show exhibitors’ tasting has been criticised by leading winemaker Philip Laffer.
Laffer, Jacob’s Creek winemaker and a director of Pernod Ricard Pacific, estimated that only about 50 winemakers were at last week’s tasting compared with up to 300 in previous years.
Blaming cost-cutting caused by the financial downturn, he said that winemakers who did not attend show tastings missed vital opportunities to compare their wines with those from other wineries.
And young winemakers were denied the chance to taste in conjunction with senior winemakers, he said.
‘It’s part of the apprentice and mentoring process. Wine shows are far and away the best place to learn.’
Wine shows also provided a chance to ‘wave the flag’ for brands and products, especially new releases, with distributors and sales forces
He questioned where wine companies’ priorities lay – corporate lunches or sending staff to shows to help ensure they were making wines that were contemporary and in touch with consumers.
‘There are other places where you could save money to make sure that the people who really are at the pointy end of the business get an important part of their education,’ he said.
He questioned whether some Australian winemakers were losing their passion for the industry.
Laffer said the Brisbane show was an important event because it was the first show where the current vintage wines could be seen.
Entries for the show were down from 2300 last year to 2100 this year.
Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide