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Got brass in pocket
Got bottle
I’m going to use it

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, eager to show everyone he’s Australian, wore a dirty big cowboy hat to Magill Estate on Monday morning to launch the $50 million Regional Wine Export And Tourism Support Package. “One couldn’t come into here without talking about Grange,” he said. “And don’t give me a bottle of it… not that you were thinking about it. It’s a great way to end a political career.” He was referring to former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell having been brought down by a free Grange in 2011. Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston, who helped to sort out the tax mess and the windfall, said she had drunk more wine in the past two years “than I thought was humanly possible”. She praised nice old bloke Colin Campbell. “Without his absolute doggedness… I mean, I think there needs to be a word for multiple versions of doggedness to describe Colin. Every single time he thought I was deviating off the path of where we were supposed to be going, you could be assured there would be 26 messages from Colin on my phone. He would just keep ringing me until I eventually picked up the phone.” The AWAI (Australian Wine Acronym Industry) was out in force at the home of RWT. The presentation finished at 9.40am. Seven minutes later, Barnaby’s other mob New Zealand Winegrowers issued a media release saying their exports had reached a record high of $1.66 billion. Piss-poor. Raining on our parade, much?

The Business Plan was produced by ACIL Allen Consulting. Snouts. Trough. In fairness, Wine Australia can’t do it all. Eight percent of the coin will go on admin; seems fair. There’s $46 million left. They say The Package will increase wine exports by $434-$565 million to a record $3.3-$3.5 billion by 2021-22. “Without the Package,” it says, “it is projected wine exports would grow at a slower rate of four percent per annum to reach $2.9 billion by 2021-22.” Shit, $2.9 billion without assistance is still a great story because that would only be $100 million short of the record $3 billion we reached before the wheels fell off. It is a good time to be in Australian wine. Actually it’s a bit shit because there’s nothing to complain about and that’s no good for a journo. The man in the hot-seat is Wine Australia boss Andreas Clarke. He looks fresh and is eager to push the button on the biggest wine marketing initiative Australia has ever seen. A bit of Basket Range stubble has rubbed off on Andreas, who took his family to Kakadu for two weeks in July. He removed the email button from his phone. “I needed it,” he said. China and the US are the big targets. “But don’t write off the UK,” he said. $14 million will go on a media campaign. Rather than root around the edges of numerous marketing initiatives, Andreas wants to invest in high-impact projects. Like, no doubt, bottle shots in WBM for $350 each. $46 million will get you 166 million bottle shots with a bit left over for a Superbowl ad and a few logos on Barnaby’s hat.  – Ed

• Where should we spend the $50 million? Make that $46 million. Let us know. Email

Silver Lining

I had another funeral yesterday; another cracking lad. Over a cup of tea in a quiet corner of the crowded room of the funeral home, I got talking to a stranger: a lovely old bloke from the Riverland who had made the trip down to Adelaide to farewell a guy he used to coach in junior cricket. This old guy is a grapegrower; a happy, positive chap and a character. He had a spring in his step about the slowly improving winegrape prices. He has ridden the highs and lows over decades. He has lived a modest lifestyle and squirrelled away some money during the good times – “we didn’t go off buying anything fancy” – and said he had enjoyed his lifestyle over the years. He has no confidence in all the “trendy new varieties” and suspects there will always be a place for shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay on the tables of consumers across the world. He loves Jacob’s Creek Shiraz and proudly takes it to barbecues and parties in the Riverland. “My friends say ‘oh, you’ve only brought Jacob’s Creek again’ and I say ‘well, you tell me what’s better in that price range?’” He reckons Riverland fruit is so underrated. “It’s what everyone across Australia loves to drink,” he said, “and that won’t change for a hundred years.” He said his little hometown was hurting. “The shops are struggling,” he said. My new friend is turning 80 soon. He’s a Crows supporter. “Yeah, we’ll probably have a party but I’ve told them not to have the bloody thing on AFL Grand Final day.”


You wouldn’t have to run very hard to beat Leon Bignell! – Colin Gaetjens
Condolences on the loss of your friend. Some thoughts on the Penfolds tasting: of the 24 media guests in attendance, only four were under the age of 50. Further, only four of the 24 were women. Geez, they know how to put on a good gig at Magill, though. – Anonymous
What a classic shot! And a wonderfully evocative article. Good job, Ed. – PeeDee
Dear Ed, with Australian rugby on its knees, it seems the only way forward is getting Canterbury and All Blacks tragic Dave Brookes working at the coal face. Here he is whispering inspiration to the Brumbies.” – Steve
• This is a message to our New Zealand friends. Cough. How do we get rugby back on track in Australia? Email

Happy Father’s Day

I had a wonderful time with Adelaide Hills winemaker Darren Golding and other dads at Hills Christian Community School at Verdun this morning making cardboard reading glasses and covering our children with innovative clothing using pages from the Sunday Mail. It was all in the name of spending quality time with our kids in the classroom in the lead-up to Father’s Day on Sunday. This is Darren with his beautiful daughter. If you look closely you can see Nick Ryan’s column. Probably the most exposure his column’s ever had.

Marketer of the Week

“Coffee, Sandwiches, Salads and Shit Like That!” Iain Riggs snapped this café in Singapore. “Great coffee/brekky,” he wrote on Facebook, “and yes run by an Aussie.”

Skin in the Game

Peter Hooper of Accent Wine Packaging wrote on LinkedIn: “OMG! Can you imagine going into a wine show asking if they have any 4 Skins? Could be awkward. Then asking what 4 Skins taste like.” Yeah, not a popular wine for Catholics. There are so many lines here, but we’ll resist. Have you come across an awkward name for a wine? Let us know. And what would be your headline for an article like this? Email


The Three Brothers Arms hotel at Macclesfield posted on Facebook this week: “this was stolen from our marquee – please keep an eye out if you see anyone with it. We put a lot of time and money into making The Three Brothers Arms what it is and this is just rotten. If you took this please return.” I’m wondering what you have had stolen from your winery or cellar door? Let us know. Email

Same Sex Marriage

Hey these are cool. More about this in WBM.
WBM Online
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