So here we are again. Christmas. The silly season. We work a hard year, and drink well as the sun shines, whilst preparing for the looming next vintage.
And this is the bit where I say thanks to the people around me – the nosebleed section of the wine industry, clamouring for more, for better, for innovation and for joy. We work hard because we take a sheer joy in our world, and are ever looking for the next, the new, the different.
We are odd bunch, here in the wine game. We are besotted with what we do, whether it be as maker, seller, marketer, rep or somm, we simply love the wines.
And we like to talk about it. We like to share. The chance to tell a story, or educate just simply makes most of us happy. You see the light in our eyes. We light up. Just ask us about what we do, and sit back and enjoy the show. I think that is why so many of us have become such avid tweeters. I hold the wine industry up as an example when showing other the beauty of the medium.
For all the difficulties, the agricultural and financial hardship, and the reasonably regular issues, there is simply the joy of our work, and our pride in what it delivers. Whether we are making, marketing or selling a cheapie, or a pricey labour of love, the same principles apply to a certain extent. We just love it. We love the fact that what we do delivers such pleasure to the sellers, the consumers, and ourselves.
And one of the key results of this is that our industry is growing. There are more producers. There is more discussion, for better or worse.
I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Just look around us – despite all the agricultural issues, the financial challenges of getting to market, the back-breaking labour which goes into each bottle, we love what we do. This is an industry of trauma and hardship as equally as it is one of joy and hedony, but we keep going, because we see the look in your eye as you sip our wines, and we rejoice.
There are moments, of course. One this very week, which saw the loss of the vibrant soul that was Sam Hughes, whose life echoed through many of us in the industry. Ray Beckwith – the very heart and chemical mind of wine – reached a grand innings total before passing away, and leaving all of us better for having met him. Others whose lives recollected the joy of our world, and those of us still here, labouring to make it a better, brighter world for Australian wine.
Up and coming winemakers, retailers, somms, reps and marketing guns abound, and our industry is growing to nurture and support this growth of the game. We are getting better at what we are doing, and whilst we each might rant and rail at times, at least there is discussion. New blood brings innovation, and an eagerness to break the rules.
With the intelligence and street smarts found amongst the wine industry, there is nothing we cannot do. So, let us be better. Be smarter. Identify problems, and fix them, rather than just ranting about them. Accept that we are beholden to agricultural forces, but be the best we can in our vineyards and our wineries to make the best possible wine. No exceptions. Be brilliant and erudite in our discussions, and passionate in our ramblings that we might inspire more around us.
Let us laud those we have lost, and educate the future to be smarter, brighter and better. Look ever to learn. Be respectful of our customers, and understand how the business of wine works. Break the rules and make brilliant, exciting wines.
Let us show people that light in our eyes, and let it not be dulled by issues behind the scenes.
So thanks to the wine world today. Who are likely all out at the pub at the moment. People I know. People I met. People I tweeted. People who poured my wines down their throats. People who helped me. People I may have assisted in some small way.
I raise my glass to you. Let’s make 2013 brilliant, incandescent, memorable. Just like 2012 has been…
Apologies to the Hilltop Hoods for appropriating the name of their song for a few random wine ramblings.