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Australia’s fine wines on brink of recognition

Australia is on the cusp of international recognition as a producer of ultra-fine wines, leading wine authority Andrew Caillard believes.

‘The general fine wine market will at some stage in the not too distant future see Australia as a producer of first growth and grand cru type wines,’ Caillard, Langton’s Fine Wines auctioneer, said this week.

Caillard said that that Australia had been producing wines of this quality ‘for decades’.

He was commenting on international criticism of Australian fine wines as ‘boring and not showing clear regional definition’.

He was speaking after teaching at last week’s Wine Australia-run ‘Landmark tutorial’ attended by 12 overseas sommeliers, marketers and wine educators and writers.

The event, he said, had highlighted that perception was a problem.

Australia’s quality wines were well known at home but by limited numbers of overseas wine enthusiasts and consumers.

The tutorial, held in the Barossa Valley, show-cased about 260 fine wines in 11 sessions by leading winemakers and wine authorities.

It had, Caillard said, been ‘like an epiphany’ for the participants.

Co-tutor Michael Hill Smith, of Shaw and Smith, echoed the comments, saying that Australian fine wines were under-rated.

‘In every session they (the participants) were really surprised at the depth of quality they were seeing,’ he said.

‘An extension of that is that you’ve got people who are really wine literate who still perhaps are not very familiar with the whole Australian fine wine section.

‘A lot of it is because much of our promotion has been about how many cases we’re doing and how many million litres we’re doing. In part perhaps the Australian fine wine message has been slightly masked by that.’

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Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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