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Tim's Ravings

Posted by Tim Stevens on

No superfluous prose

When I started making wine over 20 years ago I learned that much of the marketing of wine was bulldust. As a former journalist, I was not perturbed by this, but it is now wearing me down. 

For example, the myth surrounding cork versus screwcaps as a seal for wine. I hear time and again that corks are better because a wine needs to ‘breathe’. Gibberish.

From scientific data and experience, the best cork is one that is a total, taint-free seal, just like a screw cap only not as reliably so. The best evidence I can give of this are the centuries-old finds of wine at the bottom of the ocean – the last place in the world anything can be expected to

breathe. These wines are more often than not reported to be in relatively good condition.

But I think the most infuriating marketing myths are to be found on back labels. The ‘prose’ on some of these labels even I would blush at using (did I mention my journalism was based in Canberra?).

Sure, I understand the need to describe a wine sitting on a store shelf to convince someone to buy, but is telling someone the wine is “redolent of vibrant peaches plucked by virgins” really going to make someone buy wine? Are we really that gullible?

As a wine lover I want to see just a few things. The alcohol level tells me a surprising amount about the grapes that went into the wine. Too ripe in a warm climate is bad, as is too unripe in a cool climate. Ideally I would also like to know the winemaker's honest impression of the season and the wine in general. Brian Croser, then owner/winemaker of Petaluma was brilliant at doing this in the 90s.

Because we don’t have our wines on retail shelves there’s no superfluous prose on the bottle – we go one step further and don’t have a back label at all. What we try our best to do is to have relevant, truthful and up to date information about our wines on our website.

A wise man once told me that the best sign of rain was not kangaroos holding their tongues to the left or some such rubbish, but puddles on the ground. So it is with a bottle of Huntington Estate wine – it is what’s inside

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