The Australians flooded our market with Shiraz, when Syrah took its initial step onto the US stage as a variety worthy of attention. I believe, and tell me if I’m wrong, that their $7 bottles of wine set a precedent for all future Australian wines… At least it’s seemed to for many years that would be coming, as I’ve watched it.

However, I’m on one end of the business, so I decided to “Ask the Expert.”

Wine importer Deborah M. Gray has written the book on importing, literally: How To Import Wine. I’ve read it; and honestly, if anyone wants to understand how to import into the US, this book is a MUST READ.

So, I asked her:

Do you still have a wine import company? I’d love to give you a plug and an “Importer” link. Here’s my story about you:  Reefer, Did Someone Say Reefer? Yup, I couldn’t resist using the title…

Deborah:

I just returned to the office to find this lovely surprise! Love the title! Ha.

As for my import company, I really need to update my website (the Bluestone Wine Solutions one) to amend the importing part because I gave up that end in December, at least for the foreseeable future. The Australian brands I imported were some of the loveliest wines I’ve ever had with incredible ratings…that couldn’t sell in this economy, with the ratings system broken and with the current disinterest in Australian premium wines. I represent a couple of other portfolios (not my own), and also consult to wineries and new importers. I’m working (or trying to) on a second book as well.

Jo:

I wonder if the Australians flooded our market so much with cheap brands that now they can’t sell upper tier, because everyone expects Australia to over deliver on cheap pricing? Hum…

Deborah:

IMHO it’s a perfect storm of events that conspired to bring down Aussie wine popularity in the U.S. the last couple of years

Cheap wines – of course!

Consolidation of wholesalers – less available space in portfolios

Proliferation of brands

Exchange rate – weak US dollar

Writer backlash – seeing Aussie wines as over-priced and monolithic

Ratings wane – as dominant purchase factor

Economy in general – making premium wines less affordable

Economy in particular – wine importers going bankrupt and dumping high end brands on market, devaluing them.

And now that more Millennials are of legal drinking age, they are expecting ‘over-delivering’ wines, because that’s what they have been accustomed to during the recession, and all they really know.

Yes, I have thought about it a time or two!

How about you?

What do you think has added to an importer that’s had gorgeous wines to offer, but having to bow out of the process?

Did the Aussies shoot themselves in the foot?

Can they recover?

So many questions are left unanswered, and only time will tell for the answers.

 

 

 

 

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