One prime reason for my visit to Australia—to look for insights into why the wines seem to be on the outs with Americans—turned up much less hand-wringing by vintners than you might expect. The Aussies are smart enough to know that they are caught in a perfect storm: the rise of Argentina, Spain and other parts of the world competing effectively against their big-volume wines, coupled with a wrenching change in the exchange rate between the Aussie dollar and ours, capped off by a financial crisis that has most people thinking twice about spending money on anything they’re not entirely certain of.
The Aussies have a healthy attitude about all this. As such, they are diligently at work trying to broaden perceptions of their wines here, and looking for other places to sell them. A growing number of sommeliers and retailers have noticed that Australia produces a range of styles at higher price points. Its widespread growing regions offer specific differences in character. Inspired winemakers, some young, others experienced, are gung-ho to try something different.
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