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Monthly Report - August 2013




Has left me unfortunately.  The month of August was one of simply pruning and working abroad and that has been pretty much it.  I have had a real hard time even starting this report as it is just so quiet in the vineyard and industry as a whole that it feels like someone has hit the pause button.


I have read back over all the past August monthly reports (all 7 of them), and they all were pretty much pruning and weather with a range of topics that were important at the time.  But what are the current issues right now?  Well not much to be completely honest.


Early spring at Blue Poles


Maybe one.


This one, at a pinch.


The behavior of the major wine making groups continues to amaze due to their poor behavior and amateurish approach to complex issues.  Treasury wine is now going through their stock in America with a sledge hammer to delete $35million of stock off the books.  Cannot sell it cheap as it discounts their current products, cannot on-ship it as most markets are already saturated with their boring old products, cannot give it away to charity as it reduces the buying habits of many – so Solution 101 smash it all and watch it drain away.


They have also managed to put offside many of the smaller wineries by propping up one of their old stalwarts Wolf Blass (bedecked in bow tie and dapper suit) and be-moaning why everyone does not kick in more money for promotion campaigns abroad.  So all the fees we pay to Wine Australia, is just not enough to get a program of international marketing up and running. Yet Wine Australia do have operatives all around the globe apparently working for us.  I wonder what they do?


Remember the rage and lather everyone used to get into when they saw the latest “Visit Australia” ads?  The “shrimp on the barbie”, or the “where the bloody hell are ya” campaigns – amongst so many other incredible large funded campaigns; well apparently we need something like this for wine according to Treasury’s Wolf Blass.  Do you think that the 20 second advertisements will highlight the little guys, the small regions, the opportunity, or even the taste?  No, they will be lovely scenes from a balloon over vineyards with some bi-line that goes “Try the wines from Australia – they are really good” – well, there is a chance they will give the verbiage a bit more thought.


And?  Well?  So bloody what?  No one else in the world makes drinkable wines do they?  No one else has nice views of vineyards from a balloon do they?  One word.  Irrelevant.

"Try the wines from Australia - they are really good" - Mark's pitch for Wine Australia

South Australia has ran some advertisements into cinemas and web promoting the Barossa and it looks like a David Lynch snippet set to a bleak Nick Cave song.  It is extremely arty, it shows wine drunk as an aside with the rest of it looking like a 19th century dust bowl farm containing a few handsome folk spinning around.  It did make an impact, it did ensure that everyone had an opinion, but how does it go promoting wine – I would guess so-so BUT there is a hipster in Brunswick that now thinks a trip to the country comes with a cool soundtrack.


The drinking of wine is now not an issue amongst young and older folk – there is nothing of the new in it.  It is utterly, totally normal – you are not able to go in to conversion mode to the masses when the masses do not have any mystery left to be dispelled.  We do not have a market place that wants to be told to drink a product – they want to be told what they will get for the purchase of that product.  Hence our obsession with brands, as the brand ensures satisfaction in many consumers’ eyes, or the obsession with “experience” where they have that unique “bucket list” moment.


Generic advertising is pointless unless there is a brand or thrill to promote.  Promoting “wine” is like promoting “toothpaste” – Wolf Blass knows this as he was a constant self-promoter and it all came down to brand with him.  So in his request for “Australia” marketing “wine” and to be paid partly by the small winery “parasites” we will achieve the aim of giving the consumer a brand and a thrill incoming?  No, it just highlights just how removed he is from the world today – like a dinosaur plodding through the fern trees, he has had his time.


Now this is the bit where I conclude with a scintillating idea that fires sparks like magnesium metal in water (children, do not do this at home).  Alas – Inspiration has forsaken me.  I just shake my head now; you can see the Swiss cheese arguments being proffered by “experts” but you cannot simply resolve them with an off the cuff comment.  Issues such as destroying $35million dollars worth of wine, and the demands for worldwide promotion of Australian wines highlights the incompetency of the majors in the recent past – they have never learnt a thing from their mistakes and never will.  Wine is simply a commodity to them – it is simply packed ball-bearings, they just do not care at all about the product apart from its LUC and its time on the shelves.


So in my lethargic, inspiration-less mood let me say one line which I hope will stand for all time:




That is it. No more is required.  If you do this then we will have a booming wine industry in this country, more will be employed and more will invest in making you the drinker happy.  And with that, let us have a look at the weather…



Winter concludes...


It has been a wet and windy August, which has been the first for a number of years.  There were only 3 days in the month in which there was not some rainfall recorded, and it has been an extremely windy month on top of that.


The numbers for the month and last year’s figures are provided below:


August 2013:      

Avg Maximum Temp          17.5°C

Daily Max recorded            20.6°C


Avg Minimum Temp             10.2°C               

Daily Min recorded               5.6°C


Rainfall:                               214.7mm

The maximum temperature average is a little higher than last year, with the minimum a lot higher. These variations relate to the predominantly cloudy skies this year keeping the minimums higher, but the weather from the south and west has meant similar maximums. Rainfall is much higher than in 2012 and above average for August going from our small records.  

August 2012:      

Avg Maximum Temp          17.4°C

Daily Max recorded            21.3°C

Avg Minimum Temp             7.2°C

Daily Min recorded               1.3°C


Rainfall:                              120.4mm


007 Odd Jobs …


See what I have done there, I have combined the arrival of Tim (our joint owner), and our very own James Bond, with Odd Job, one of his villains which he dealt with – which is similar to all the odd jobs we have to do.  Yes, I will keep to my day job.  But it is always good to have Tim come through as it opens up the cellar and gets us chatting about what we will be doing in the coming months.  So apart from Tim’s visit, we will be tidying up the last of the pruning and get ready for Spring.

As always if you have any queries about what’s been written or about wine in general, do not hesitate to contact us either by email or and we’ll do our very best to answer any question.





Mark Gifford

Blue Poles Vineyard

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