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Australia wine industry seeks to clarify Jago affair

Published:  23 July, 2008

Both Bruce Tyrrell and the Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) have sought to clarify events surrounding a recent speech given by Dan Jago.

The Tesco Director for Beers, Wines and Spirits spoke on Tuesday November 27 at the Wine Industry Outlook Conference.

His comments focussed on his belief that the Australian industry produced unfashionable high-alcohol wines that lacked character.

And Jago's views elicited a strong response from Bruce Tyrrell, according to an article in the Sun Herald. Tyrell told the paper: "Wine consumption in the UK has gone up because the Australians have been supplying consumers with wines they like. After 30 years in this business I have learned to listen to consumers rather than guys like this."

However, a statement from the WFA said the journalist responsible for this report - Maxine Frith - was "lacking the real context of the story she was covering" and "chose to portray comments she was given after the event in a somewhat sensationalist light".

Tyrrell issued a statement: "I didn't, and wouldn't, say about Dan Jago what Ms Frith quoted in my name in the Sydney Sun Herald on Sunday December 2.

"I would like to distance myself from the comments made in the press by Maxine Frith. She has misrepresented me entirely, the views she portrayed are not the views I hold."

Stephen Strachan, WDF Chief Executive, added "any one who was present on the day will know that Dan was not attacking the Australian wine industry", rather he offered "some constructive advice" on boosting the Australian market share.

The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation also issued a statement saying Jago's comments offered a "valuable insight into the UK market".

Bruce Tyrrell has written an opinion piece, exclusively for Harpers, on Dan Jago's conference speech. Click here to read his My View article.