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A Sleeping Giant or Living in the Past?


There’s a stirring Down Under. Earlier this month Wine Australia, a new division under the Australian Government, gathered 250 key retailers, restauranteurs, wine journalists and beverage directors in Adelaide to pick, poll, quiz and conference. The objective: find out from the “front lines” what Australia needs to do to re-engage the wine consumer. The conference schedule was full and each was packed with Australian winemakers, marketers, and importers eager for perspective.



Panels included a great mix of retail, press and trade representatives. Subjects didn’t pull any punches. I especially liked the one titled “Retailer – Friend or Foe” (what?). After three full days of talking, it was time for wine country immersion. That meant winery visits, vineyards tours and “master classes” by coalitions of the top winemakers of each region – Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale.



Oysters were great with these classy dry rieslings.


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California Wine Month Deals

If you like full throttle Viognier, don’t miss the Andrew Murray 06 for only $12.99. What a refreshing wine, esp if you’re tired of the usual suspects in California white wines. Practically explodes from the glass. May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it’s impossible to beat this bang for the buck.

The California Wine Adventure Book is Posted

If you are a fan of California wine, you won’t want to miss our best event of the year! This book is now posted. Check it out. You’ll find an unheard of selection: Several wines over $100/btl and 30+ wines $50 and over. But for me, this event is the prime opportunity to taste what you want, and with a 15% discount, STOCK UP!


Looking for the best QPR (Quality/Price Ratio)? Don’t miss the Vinum Petite Sirah (table # 56), the Guenoc Claret (table #60), the Newton Claret (table #67), the Cline Sonoma Syrah (table #84, 8.99-15%=$7.64!) or Rutherford Ranch 07 Chard (table #60, 90pts WA, 11.99-15%=$10.19).


Too many to go through. You’re just going to have to do your own homework before the event!

The Expo Goes California

So I just finished the wine list for The California Wine Adventure that takes place on March15th. After getting so much feedback about our last events (this will be our 7th Expo event at Drury Lane), we decided to change it up a bit. And after looking over the list that we were able to compile, I’m glad we did. 550 wines from nearly every reach in California. Definitely something for everyone.


Want to compare top Napa Cabs? Caymus Special Select, Rubicon Cask Cab, La Jota Howell Mtn, Stag’s Leap Cab, Grgich Cab, and Chimney Rock SLD are just some of the highlights.


Pinot lovers wont be disappointed either. With more than 60 to choose from, you could do a comparison of just Carneros Pinots, or just Russian River Pinots, or just Sonoma Coast Pinots You get the idea.


Or maybe you’d like to know what’s new and/or different in California?


Did you know they produce Valdigue, Arneis, Barbera, Pinot Meunier, and Dolcetto? You’ll be amazed at the quality these grapes show off in their new world homes.


Whatever it is you want to try – in a huge event like this – have a strategy. Whenever I do a tasting of this magnitude, here are a few things I do to keep some focus:


1. Have an objective. Are you tasting in order to stock up? Just tasting whites? Reds? Doing a region or varietal comparison?

2. Get the book early. Some will post the event book online (like the CWA) or at least get it at the entrance and mark out the plan.

3. Go smaller to bigger. I try to do white before red, lighter bodied to fuller bodied, and dry before sweet. This progression will help the wines show their best.

4. Recognize palate fatigue. When I think I should be getting more from a wine, I slow down. Refresh the palate often by eating bread/crackers or drinking water in between.

5. Review before you leave. Take a last look at your plan. Did you hit everything you wanted to?


Oh, and in this event, I would definitely take in a seminar. It’s a nice break in a long tasting and I promise you’ll learn something you can’t by tasting alone. (It’s like going to a show in the middle of the day at Disney. You’ll come out refreshed and ready to go back at it.)


I’ll keep you posted on new developments as we get a closer to the big event.

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