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Published:  23 July, 2008

Australia should concentrate on promoting its regions rather than focusing on varietal wines, cult Barossa producer Charlie Melton told an audience in London last week. Australia gets bracketed strongly in a varietal sense, but I firmly believe that we should place a lot more emphasis on our district. I want people to feel as if they're in the Barossa when they taste a bottle of my wine.' Melton said that Australia should not be ashamed of vintage variation. To prove the point, he presented a tasting of museum stock of Charles Melton Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Nine Popes from six different vintages. Our grapes are mainly dry-grown and there can be big differences between vintages. We even get some poor years, although I'm not showing any of those today. I'm not bloody stupid.' What Melton calls the Barossa's food and wine culture' has stopped us becoming victims. The old growers have never succumbed to current thinking.' As he pointed out: People don't walk into Chteau Latour and say "What's new, what's coming up?"'