Artisan Wines of Australia
   

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Why Won't retailers find shelf space for such fine wines? Philip White
  Jan 27th - Feb 2nd 2007
  The Independent
   

Bring bring, "Yes?" A tough tentative, sensitive woman is asking for Mr. White on his field telephone..."You've got him" Oh really?" Well...well I'm not used to doing this, like well, you know, I've got some wine to sell and I don't know how to..well..somebody gave me your number, and well, I was wondering if you'd like to taste it."
Within a couple of hours Marie Linke - "That's Mur-ree, Not Marie - was down from the chilly ridge atop Flaxman's Gully and Eden Valley. She settled at my table in the Badlands gingerly removing bottles from her coolers, talking nervously of the rude difficulties in trying to get wine onto the shelves of Adelaide.
"Like one shop, you know, I made a proper appointment and everything, and they tasted our wine and just stood there staring at me...like, well, like I was a.."

"Talking cockroach?"

"Yeah. They didn't seem to say anything. Just stared. I felt shocking"
I was sagely advising that such people are besieged by newcomers trying to get them to buy wine, and can't possibly stock them all, when Marie's first Karra Yerta nesting began to dawn on my palate. It was monumental. Intense, Stony, Classic High Eden Rizza, very much after the style of the mighty Cascabel, which comes from just a little further along the same lofty ridge.

"But this is great wine", I blustered hopelessly aware that this was no consolation. "Surely they congratulated you? No?"
No. So I named the shop and said "Don't worry; Reservoir Dogs. Overly masculine, especially int he smallest matters..."

When you think of the myriad mindless grog sheds, drive ins and smaller, higher quality specialists - which are too thin on the ground - you'd expect they'd be taking the current glut as a great oportunity to lead the way with a few new, top quality brands, no? No most retailers - I wont mention our wretched wholesalers - have entirley missed their opportunity to take the cream from the hundreds of new brands which are struggling, like spawning Salmon, to flood the shallow market. And they aggressively cack on brands whch they dont stock.
Of course, most of these wines are tiresome and forgettable: from growers suddenly left deserted, with no income, by the big refineries. Having designed a label at the kitchen table, they somehow pay to get some wine made; then naively walk out into the carnage of the duopolised market place and expect to sell half hearted, terribly branded plonk at a profit. It's impossible. Hundreds will fail miserably.

But the very best, over and over again, are ignored by the retail empires. Which must mean these merchants aren't capable of recognising high quality, don't care, can't stretch that far, or can't sufficiently trust their relationships with their customers to expect them to take advice on unknown newbies.
Or overwhelmingly, it means domestically they're trapped by, addicted to, the same sickening, downward spiral of quality and price that has our export business by the throat. While last years export total increased in volume by 7.9%, the monetary value of it increased by a piddling 0.8%, to $3.72 a litre. That the retail price of posh bottled water. Which means yet another overall drop, - fourth in a row - in the value per litre of what we make for international markets, at the expense of our famished environment.

Also last year, domestically, there was a 28.5% increase in the value of imports, while total Australian wine sales fell. Surely this indicates a market hungry for new flavours and better quality, at the risk of increasing prices?
Meanwhile, Marie Linke's out burning shoe leather, building permanent callouses on her self-esteem, as she presents her beautiful wines at shop after shop after shop. Taste it!
The Karra Yerta Shiraz is a killer, too. A young Jerry Lee Lewis.