After years of promotional programs that ranged from somnolent to moribund and allowed much of the rest of the wine world to dictate the conversation, the Australian wine industry has suddenly come awake, and loudly. They’ve remembered they have a good story to tell just in time, too—a tasting panel at Decanter magazine recently declared that Australia has “never been in better form. . . ignore Burgundy and go to Australia for Chardonnay,” and several events at the recent Australia Day tasting in London were standing-room-only; the fact that the subjects covered (and happily tasted) were Riesling, Pinot Noir, and revelations of Terroir certainly proves they’ve turned a page.
The new endeavor is known as “A+ Australian Wine,” and aims to shift our perception away from the bargain-bin dead end the wines have been stuck in for too long, back toward quality and their progress over that too-quiet time. The immediate result of the campaign? Several large conglomerated wineries have dropped out of the program, on the grounds that it’s not “commercially driven” enough. That may be the good news—it was the “commercially driven” idea that landed Australian wine in the dumpster.
Take a look at the new, lively, straightforward and quite informative website that carries the revised message. Australia made things interesting two decades ago, and we may be seeing a return to that: http://www.apluswines.com/