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Tuesday 4 September 2018

"Best in the world". Why you can't believe a word you read

Today I received a press release with the headline: "Aged Barossa fortified wine named best in world".

Now I get a lot of press releases that stretch the truth, but this one wasn't even close to being correct.

It turned out that a Barossa Tawny from 1847 Wines/Chateau Yaldara won a double gold medal and the fortified wine of the year award at the China Wine and Spirits Awards.

That doesn't make it the best in the world. China is a country where many people mix their red wine with Coke to make it sweeter.

It means this wine, which incidentally is owned by a Chinese company, was named the best fortified at one of hundreds of wine shows held around the world each year. At that one show. In China.

Owned by Chinese-born Sydney businessman Arthur Wang, the Barossa winery expanded from a boutique cellar in Rowland Flat in 2014 when the company bought the nearby Chateau Yaldara winery, estate, vineyards and brand.

1847 Wines/Chateau Yaldara sales and marketing manager Barry Wyld said the the award-winning 40-year-old Tawny sells for $600 (RMB¥3000) a bottle, with the the vast majority sold in China.

“You can have all the raw ingredients sitting there but its how it’s blended together that’s the skill,” Wyld said.

“It’s blended more to the Chinese tastes – China is a massive market for cognac so the sorts of taste cues you get from expensive cognac are the sort of things they’re looking for in their fortifieds.”

So the headline should have read: "Fortified wine made to appeal to Chinese tastes wins award at Chinese show."

Far less sexy, but far more accurate. But look out for that "best in the world" story in your daily paper. A lot of media won't even bother to check.

In fact, it has already appeared in the flag-waving Barossa Herald 

# Follow-up. The team from 1847 pointed out the "best in the world" claim was not made by them but by an over-enthused South Australian Government publicity agency.   

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