Take gun. Aim at feet. Pull trigger.

Seriously, people, do I really need to be saying this?

Before you go and speak about your wine, your vintage, your region, your world, please consider a couple of things:

1. Have a story, and make sure your voice, and whatever it is you have to say is reflective of that story.

2. You do not speak for everyone in a region. Make that clear.

3. You have not done vintage with everyone, so you do not know what may or may not be helping in another block/winery/vineyard.

4. Bear in mind your audience – are you talking to wine people, or drinkers, or some mix of the two? Because there are things that the trade/producers will understand, and things which may easily be misinterpreted by others less familiar with your specific subject.

5. Above all, kindly steer clear of the word ‘glut’. It is seized upon by the media, applied to producers and regions with no such issue, and widely used to tar all and sundry. Referring to one region, and one variety? Hah! Not for long…

Simply put, be smart. Understand the impact of your words, and measure them. Particularly when those words may be edited by the tv crew, and splashed across the evening news.

I know do not have a surplus of riesling here in Clare. In fact, I am a bit light on. But I am in the northern end of Clare. And across two regions, and around seven hundred hectares of land under vine, I can comprehensively say that the word ‘glut’ can in no way be applied to our yield this year. Quality is looking great with one block to go. That is me, and as much as I will say on the matter. If asked about the two regions, I will say how we are going, and that the word is that quality is looking good.

I will certainly not state that there is too much  of a variety with which the Australian market can struggle. I will not use the words ‘surplus’ and ‘glut’, because, quite simply, this opens the floodgates of rumour and misinterpretation. The consumers do not need to know about one or two producers’ perceived woes, because they will often take this as gospel, and apply the same ideas and words to countless other producers or regions.

Please be aware of the impact of your voice – on your brand, your region, your story. We tell tales of wineries laden with beautiful fruit,  because it pretty much looks awesome at the moment. We talk reduced yields, but gorgeous quality. We talk about the good and the great now, because we can. Whilst I am not entirely for regions blatently going for spin (you know who you are, certain wine region associations), I think a positive outlook is a requisite at this time of year.

We can talk about specifics down the track, but now? Mid-vintage? Have a care. Focus on the good. Because flapping lips without a care about something which may have little to no impact on your wine in a few months’ time could well become the game of chinese whispers we never needed to have.

Let us talk and be open, but have a care as to how things might be read by our audience. I know what was probably meant. I know the spirit in which these comments were intended. The buying public sitting in front of the telly wondering why people are talking about grapes? Not so much for the great majority. The wine world can be difficult enough at times. We need not drag ourselves down.

Our words guide the path of our business. Have a care…

**Reference is to a commercial news bulletin aired last weekend interviewing two winemakers about vintage thirteen.

Dream big

That is what most of us do. We dream big. We make the wines we love, and get them out to the world, whether they be approachable cheapies or more expensive ones needing cellaring time to evolve, or something in between.

We plant different varietals. We experiment with winemaking styles. We try. We explore. We get better every year. If we are lucky, and everything goes to plan, someone might like our wines, or score them well, or just enjoy buying and drinking them.

This is what we do.

So have some respect, people, and please stop blatantly writing off regions, vintages, styles or techniques. Unless you – buyer, consumer, writer, blogger – have tried every possible example, and have worked on our land, and in our wineries, please have a degree of courtesy for what it is we do, and let us maybe make something brilliant.

And some of you writers/bloggers/drinkers/buyers are lucky enough to try very many examples of wines and styles, and often more than we as producers have the luxury of accessing. But sometimes you are wrong. And sometimes you are right. But at the end of the day, writing off an entire region or country’s potential as a producer of a certain variety/style/technique is inept, inaccurate and unprofessional. And, honestly? It shows a lack of engagement with the industry about which you are writing/educating/serving.

Our adventurous spirit as a people has always been one of the brightest points of being Australian. We try. And we are – as acknowledged by people around the world – making some awesome wines. The shift from big buttery chardonnays is a case in point. Many complained that we were making ‘acidic’ styles. Many of those now laud the shift by a great number of producers toward a more ‘chablis’-like style.  Natural wines – as championed by Rootstock, Fix St James, Wine Library, East End Cellars, 121BC and countless others – to be honest? Not generally my thing. But I love the technique, and the experimentation. I love talking to people about it, and exploring. I love being surprised.

I love merlot when done well, and this tone used by so very many when writing off an entire variety – which underpins many Australian wines over the years – to denigrate, and to sneer, is just petty. It makes us as an industry look divided, and that, frankly, makes the consumers even more confused.

We are all welcome to our opinions – and healthy discussion and debate is to be actively encouraged. But just maybe we could have some respect for the people innovating, digressing, trying. This cheap approach might be a path chosen to provoke debate, but perhaps sometimes we forget who is reading or listening.

We don’t all get it right all the time. But this is how we learn. We share notes with our neighbours, and work together to make better wines. We ask people to look at our wines, to try them. We ask for a response. This is me, asking for some industry respect to go along with that response.

Dreaming big. We do it so very well…