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Beware of complacency

Published:  23 July, 2008

Australian wine producers and exporters must beware complacency, according to Graham Cranswick-Smith, the head of Cranswick Estate before it merged with Western Australian producer Evans & Tate.

Cranswick-Smith has formed a distribution agency for Australian wines with Bill Moularadellis of Kingston Estate Wines in South Australia. Kingston Wine Agencies sources wines from Adelaide Hills (Ambleside), Queensland (Sirromet) and Margaret River in Western Australia (Watershed).

Complacency, complacency, complacency - it's what we have accused the French of for years,' Cranswick-Smith told Harpers. We have to watch out for it in Australia. The supermarkets here have put the big-selling brands, which are owned by public companies, under such pressure, and, with the bottleneck of limited distribution, it is tougher and tougher to be innovative. Going forward, we have to expand our offering of new varietals and wines from new regions.

The original Australian offering was hard-pressed to find terroir - Australian Chardonnay was "full of sunshine" but it was hard to differentiate different sources - but we are starting to develop terroir.'

Within Kingston Wine Agencies' portfolio, the Empiric Selection offers an Arneis, the white grape variety from Piedmont in northern Italy; Viognier; Petit Verdot (Moularadellis claims to be Australia's largest grower of the variety); Tempranillo; and Durif.

It has an entry-point range, Kingston Soft Press, aimed at young wine consumers; Coral Bay; and regional offerings.

Cranswick-Smith is also researching a range of varietal wines that are tropically infused' with approximately 0.2% of essence to bring up the fruit character.