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Australian shows make ‘boring’ wine: Kinzbrunner

The Australian show system is holding good wines back and promoting boring wines, winemaker Rick Kinzbrunner says in the latest issue of Decanter.

Kinzbrunner, founder of Giaconda in Beechworth, Victoria, tells Andrew Jefford the shows have become moribund.

In the ‘early years’, he says, the system helped ‘drag the bottom end up’ but now it’s doing the opposite.

‘It’s holding people back. It just drives wines to a certain level of interesting boredom, clean boredom.’

The problem is one of winemakers’ egos, Kinzbrunner says, and the solution would be to have consumers in charge.

‘Why do winemakers run the show? They’re not the people who drink the wine. It’s absolutely crazy. You should have consumers in charge, with a small winemaking contingent.’

Giaconda’s wines are feted by critics as diverse as Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson and Jefford himself. Berry Brothers, which imports the wines, is begging for a ‘stay of execution’ on a Roussanne vineyard that Kinzbrunner is thinking of pulling out – Giaconda’s Aeolia, pure Roussanne, is one of the most renowned of the range.

‘Despite his success, he’s still very much the outsider,’ Jefford writes, ‘his famed Chardonnay … is the antithesis of modern Australia’s …critically acclaimed ideal.’

In the course of a wide-ranging interview, Kinzbrunner airs his views on a number of subjects, including the Australian need to ‘cut you down to size’, his countrymen’s ‘insane preference for screwcaps’, and his love of Schubert, Bach and Beethoven.

‘Bach’s cello sonatas [are a ] wonderful example of harmony in art as in nature – it reminds me of the synergy I think there can be between a terroir and a winemaker.’

Read the full interview in this month’s Decanter magazine, out now.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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