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Morris wines saved and more...
July 28, 2016
Three items in this newsletter - a good news story, a request for help and an invitation.
Good news about Morris wines
Just over a week ago Casella wines, best known as the makers of Yellow Wines took over the iconic Morris winery in Rutherglen. This was exceptionally good news for Australian winelovers.
Morris has been owned for quite a few years by the large multinational liquor company Pernod Ricard. The winery was operated by David Morris, descendant of the original family who established the winery in 1859. But large corporations get impatient when they don't see the right numbers on the bottom line so Pernod Ricard decided to sell.
Pernod Ricard are one of the worlds largest liquor companies. As well as owning the Pernod brand they own a slew of other brands such as Ballantynes, Chivas Regal, Glenlivet and Jameson whiskys, Absolut and Stolichnay vodkas, Mumm champagne, etc. In Australia their brands include Jacobs Creek, St Hugo and Wyndham Estate.
So what's the big deal? Instead of being owned by one large company, Morris is now owned by a different, albeit Australian company.
The answer lies in how Pernod Ricard were going to dispose of the assets but keep the brand name.
Their intention was to sell the winery, vineyards and stocks of fortified wines and keep the Morris brand name. In fact they had already started the process of selling off the stocks of ageing fortified wines. This asset stripping would effectively destroy 150+ years of history, but consumers would still be able to buy "Morris" wines at their local duopoly outlets. The wine would have nothing in common with the real Morris as everything would have been sold.
Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief because the terms of the sale to Casella are vastly different to what Pernod Ricard said they were going to do a month ago. Casella have indicated that they intend to keep Morris operating as a complete distinct operation with David Morris still in charge.
Too many of our wine brands have been traded as assets by large companies. Unfortunately the public often end up being duped into thinking they are buying something with regional integrity.
This story had a happy ending, but there are others with different outcomes.
So go and buy a bottle of something from Morris. The brand is most famous for their fortified wines but you could also try their Blue Imperial Cinsaut, Malbec or even the lovely Morris Sparkling Shiraz Durif.
Can you help?
I am in the process of revising the content of Vinodiversity.com. In particular the regions and the variety pages. The lists of producers and varieties are drawn from a database I started over a decade ago. The database has about 1800 wineries on it but quite a few are no longer in business. There has been plenty of changes in that time. Old wineries closing or changing hands, new wineries and new varieties are happening all the time. I just keep plugging away but I need your help.
If you have a favourite variety or region could you run a quick eye over the relevant page on vinodiversity.com to see that my listings are accurate.
The best place to start are the general index pages
then look at the relevant pages. If you find an error or omission please reply to this email with corrections, or comment on the pages and I'll add them to the queue.
Notice the new formating of Vinodiversity. I have decided to cut the clutter as an increasing proportion of my readers are using smartphones. Do you like it?
Wine School of Southern Italy
We now have our first registrations for the Wine School of Southern Italy in May 2017. There is still time for you to register to join us. See http://www.vinodiversity.com/italianwineschool2017.html for details of the course and a video of a passionate man talking about pink wine.
I don't say this often enough. Thank you to all of my readers who have supported me over the years by reading and commenting on my stuff, passing info on to their interested friends and to buying my products.
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