There are now more ways than ever to savour some Australian wine. Just pop the cork on a bottle of wine from California. That’s right. If your bottle of wine has “American” on the label, it could actually contain as much as 25% Aussie grape.
Seems the Aussies are no longer content to fill just the Down Under market with cute and cuddly animal labels. Now they’re attempting – rather successfully – to empty their wine lake by exporting in bulk. Critter wines are breeding like gerbils, much to the horror of California grape growers who are, according to one article, reaching for their shotguns. Having sipped a few of the critter wines, I sympathize with the Californians.
Bulk wine imports into California have increased by six times this year alone, and 80% of those imports are from Australia. Bulk imports from Australia now total the equivalent of 2,300,000 cases of wine – that’s over two million cases, folks. Add another 675,000 cases from Argentinean grapes, and I wonder how much of what’s in my bottle of Californian wine is actually grown in the sunny, surf-loving American state?
I’m not much of a fan of critter wines at the best of times, and this news certainly doesn’t give me much reassurance I’m likely to change my opinion. Seems like just another step toward the homogenization of wines. Echoes of Ursula LeGuin’s classic sci-fi novel, Lathe of Heaven, are already rattling around in my head.