Some good news. Wine Australia today announced that they are dropping the tasting panel element from export approval.
Getting export approval has been a big problem for natural winemakers in Australia, and continues to be a big issue in South Africa and New Zealand.
I’ve written about it extensively here, giving some case studies. In an absurd bit of officialdom, anyone who wants to export their wines from these countries has to submit them to a tasting panel for approval. In theory, this sounds great: the panel stops bad wine from leaving the country and damaging its reputation.
But the reality has been that some great (if unconventional) wines have been refused permission, even when they have buyers waiting overseas. One famous case was Gary Mills’ Mon Petite Francine (pictured above). Gary, whose label is Jamsheed, had buyers waiting in Japan for this delightfully bright, aromatic and utterly drinkable Yarra Valley Cabernet Franc, which is naturally made and not altogether clear. But it was refused export permission. And not because of its bad French grammar, but because of its flavour.
Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen again in Australia. Credit to Wine Australia for listening and responding.
‘Very unhappy my main marketing tool has decided to finally call it quits,’ joked Gary Mills today on Twitter. ‘Thinking about starting my own panel.’