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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

The contentious concept of Australian regionality got a big boost from one of the UK's biggest retailers last week when Sainsbury's announced big changes to its Australian range at its spring press tasting. The retailer's Australian buyer Julian Dyer has added 25 new lines to the Australian range, replacing a number of sub-5 brands with regional wines above 5, in a bid to add interest to a category which Dyer believes has become a bit samey'. New lines include the first New World additions to Sainsbury's upmarket own-label Classic Selection range, with contributions from Petaluma in Coonawarra, Larry Cherubino and Capel Vale in Western Australia, and St Hallett in the Barossa, all at 6.99. It's about time [someone] did something like this,' Dyer said. Most Australian ranges have got pretty boring and samey. You have to ask yourself, how many 4.99 Chardonnays and Cabernet/Shirazes do you need? For the health of the category, it's vital that we signpost regionality. It adds depth.' Sainsbury's has also followed a number of other retailers in strengthening its Chilean range. Portugal, to capitalise on this summer's Euro 2004, also had some new additions, including three wines from top Douro producer Quinta do Crasto. As well as new wines, the retailer used the tasting to relaunch its wine club, which will go live in July.