For the next fortnight I’m touring the vineyards of Australia as part of a Wine Australia press trip. There are eight writers from Europe being hosted on this trip – it’s a big logistical undertaking and the itinerary includes some what promise to be some very special experiences across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Well, bully for me. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s an interesting perspective on the wine trade – not just as an opportunity to see the latest developments in a country’s wine culture but also considering how such activity is organised.
There is absolutely no substitute for visiting a vineyard area. This is partly because understanding a region’s climate and soil can only be fully appreciated when experiencing it first hand, but also because wine regions tend to be naturally beautiful, and associated with interesting people, a convivial atmosphere and lots of good food and drink.
Creating that emotional connection is as important as making great wine – and Australia is particularly good at this. There tends to be a strong collaborative and experimental ethic in Australian wine regions, which was ably demonstrated by the recent Artisans of Australia tasting in London.
However, there is a danger of becoming biased when immersed in such trips. Keeping an independent perspective is important not just for credibility, but also to provide useful, honest feedback to producers.
The official programme starts tomorrow but I've been here for 24 hours and am already finding lots of interesting things to write about - see below.