13 April 2008


You can call it conceit; I’ll call it a fact.
The simple truth is that winemakers in
France hate us – passionately. It is the
way they do most things. But passion
won’t allay fears for no good reason.

It is also true French viniferous heroes
jeer at Australian wine, sneering down
aquiline noses arrogantly while choking
on statistics saying France’s wine industry
has had its day. The bulk of it anyway.

The best French wine is still the best, at
least they can rest easy on that, but the
rest is gutrot with few redeeming graces.
They drink it out of patriotic fervour and
swallow down making doleful faces.

Here, where history is only 200 years
in making, we’re creating grand styles
wearing signatures of soil types and sun
blessed flavours the French don’t want
to understand. One has to ask – why?

Ask the Poms, I say. Or the French wine
making companies who relocated here.
Or ask the Kiwis who’ve eased into space
reserved for the best sauvignon blanc
and pinot noir, egging French faces.

They just don’t get it. Nor will they in a
hundred years. Reputations of a few
duly earned and truly great wines won’t
placate or repair a Nation’s conscience
based on commensurate conceit...
© 27 March 2008, I. D. Carswell

From: Campbell Mattinson’s
“Why The French Hate Us”
The real story of Australian Wine
Hardie Grant Books 2007