Australian Comeback Kid-The Barossa Boomerang
Sometime around 2008 American wine drinkers flung their boomerangs en masse far outside US borders, feigning good riddance to indistinguishable Australian Shiraz that all seemed to blend together in minds and cellars. US Australian wine imports sagged in volume and value from 2008-2010. Consumers all but watered their lawns with Grange Hermitage. But all good boomerangs eventually return, riding the same momentum associated with their far flung exits.
2011 and 2012 are inarguably global, and particularly for the US, comeback years. Recession riddled American brains and wallets cleared cobwebs spun by too many years of inactivity and despair. Check out the S&P. Look at declining unemployment rates and increases in job creation. Have a sniff of the consumer confidence embedded in the leading US economic indicators. And while we are at it, you will see from year-end 2011 data that Australia’s bottled US exports halted their declines and achieved 18% growth in the $20 – $30 category!
Who doesn’t like a good comeback? Everyone does! No matter why you might have stopped buying Australian wine, somewhere deep down in your vinous memory banks must be a classically delicious bottle (or two or twelve) of Aussie juice. Because I LOVE a good comeback, I elected to host the 76th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday under the Australian flag, and more specifically, inside the South Australian Barossa Valley. Why Barossa? First, I think it’s cool to be uncool, especially when the uncool rocks like Barossa wines can. Second, it’s the most popular wine growing region in Australia, leading the nation’s 2011 wine export renaissance; up in volume by 16.6% and 19.1% in value. Thirdly, the wines sell at fair values. And lastly, it might be worth reshaping Americans’ knee jerk Shiraz associations with the Valley’s vines. Beyond Shiraz, Barossa producers are working with Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon; turning their local fruit into big bold reds, rich whites, and fortified pudding wines.
So go get yourself a bottle of Barossa Valley wine for $30 or less; Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Riesling or otherwise…and let everyone know on April 25 what you think about the “return of the Barossa Boomerang”. If enough of us look down under this month, we might even nudge the needle that Wine Australia and the A+ Australian Wine initiative is working hard and smart to advance, providing wine geeks with the education and stories that drive wine geek-dom curiosities and interests. Enough winos and naysayers can now agree that a large part of Australian wine exports’ fall from grace had less to do with the quality of the country’s finest wines, and more with the absence of knowledge and stories to make the distant continent’s wines intellectually accessible to American wine culture.
Everyone ( YOU!) is encouraged (URGED) to contribute to the body of Australian Wine experience in the US on April 25 by tweeting (#wbw76), blogging, facebooking, pinning, instagraming, or any other form of digital screaming that suits your style. When you have had a chance to taste your under $30 Barossa wine, be sure to write about it for Wine Blogging Wednesday. Kindly use #wbw76 on all tweets and references. I will provide a recap here and at the Wine Blogging Wednesday site no more than a couple days following April 25. So be sure to tweet all your links, share all your stories, (include those hashtags everywhere) so we (appreciate the ongoing support of Tim Elliot and Lenn Thompson towards making #wbw76 fun and successsful) can help pass your experiences and content on to even more winos by including your stories in all the wrap-ups. You are also encouraged to leave links or reviews or comments here on this post or at the WBW site. Time to get busy finding your own Barossa boomerang; there are 21 days left before #wbw76. Good hunting and good drinking.