Here’s a link to an article in The Drink Business discussing Australian Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the effort to reinvigorate interest in SSB blends, and combating the huge market share of NZ sauvignon blanc. The business push to reclaim market share is not new. I find it rather puzzling that we are still talking about this shelf-war about a decade since I first heard of it. No guesses who might be winning the war.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike NZ wines. I think NZ Pinot Noir is unique and has the potential (at the wrong price point) to grab a significant portion of the market. NZ Sauvignon Blanc is cheap, pleasing to drink and there are plenty of labels to choose from. The first point is probably the most important characteristic of NZ SB that draws the consumer. NZ SB can usually be bought for ~$5 cheaper than an Australian SB. How can local wine producers compete? It should be a concern that Australians are maintaining preference for NZ SB over the myriad of locally produced SB labels, as well as white varietals.
I’d like to use this space to recommend other white varietals to the occassional wine drinker. Hey, if you aren’t drinking too much, then why not drink as widely as possible? Too lazy to pick and choose? It’s not really that difficult. Just select something that is not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay (that’s a story for another day). Semillon from the Hunter Valley (or see the review directly after this post), SSB blends from the Margeret River, Viognier from Clonakilla and Massena, Savignan from Tscharke, Marsanne from Tahbilk and Roussanne -based blends from Torbreck. Seek out the trustable Pinot Gris from Eden Rd Wines (Canberra) too.
It’s the new year, 2013, time to live a little and step out of your white wine cardboard box! To help you along, over the next few days, I will be reviewing different white wines that you can pick up for cheaps at easy-to-find wine outlets.