Greetings from Adelaide, in South Australia, where I’m attending Savour 2013, Australia’s first major international wine conference. The festivities kicked off Sunday night at Adelaide’s central market with a walk around tasting of wines from various regions and some Australian cuisine. (For the record, grilled roo tastes like chewy beef, perhaps a bit sweet, although that may have been the sauce.)
The main program started Monday with a welcome speech by noted Australian wine writer Jeremy Oliver, who declared that “Australia is back and open for business.” In fact, today’s theme was largely a big mea culpa by Australia’s wine industry for losing touch with its customers, and therefore losing market share. We can expect a rebranding campaign called “Restaurant Australia,” tying Australia’s magnificent scenery to its wine and cuisine. Will it change Australia’s image? Considering how our current picture of Oz is influenced by “Shrimp on the bar-b” and “Fosters: Australian for beer,” I’d say yes.
I participated on a panel discussion on wine and social media, which gave the message that wineries should be active on Facebook and Twitter to build a community and a rapport with their customers. Interestingly, the panel was blasé about bloggers, dismissing that genre as largely irrelevant to consumer choices. (It was the first time I’ve ever been simultaneously translated into Mandarin, which shows the importance of the Chinese market to Australia.)
I will try to post more over the next few days while I’m in Australia. Right now, it’s 1 a.m. and I am sick of retyping everything my iPad auto-correct function does.