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Published:  23 July, 2008

Petaluma winemaker Brian Croser believes that Australia's success with branded wine will open the door to regionality. Speaking at the WSET annual lecture at London's Vintners' Hall on Monday, Croser admitted that his paranoia' over Australia's lack of regional identity had now disappeared, and that the country should capitalise on its branded wine position by using it as a springboard to increase interest in premium, regional wine. He said: You should not regard Australia purely as a supplier of commodity wine - in fact, it is Australia's penetration of global markets with highly successful commodity brands that should create the incentive for distributors to exploit the well-developed, but still-evolving Australian regional wine treasure trove.' Croser claimed that France had fallen short' in the branded commodity market, in contrast to Australia, and he also explained his index of varietal specificity', which identifies the ideal growing region for each varietal: the Hunter Valley for Semillon, for example. He ended by quoting Dr AC Kelly MD, who in 1867 published his treatise on wine growing in Australia: In the great diversity of soil and climate to be found in Australia, there is little doubt that every variety cultivated in Europe would somewhere find a suitable location in which to develop its most valued qualities.' See next week's Harpers for more on Croser's speech.