Friday, May 20, 2011


Kitty might want a partner to mate with, but he definitely wants food. Meanwhile, my own list of wants is far more complex and much less driven by a simple need to survive.

As a passionate consumer of Australian wine, what I want is for Australian wine to be more popular, but more importantly, to be understood better by the masses who drink it.

But how?

What I want is for Australian wine to get a small sip of the gigantic cup of television coverage currently being beer-bonged down by the food industry.

Sure, Australian wine has had recent spells on TV - Wine Lover's Guide to Australia and Wine Squad come to mind - two shows which are all good and interesting if you're a wine fanatic, but rather useless if you aren't. I mean, if I rocked up to a mate's place with a nice bottle of red and a DVD box-set of Wine Lover's Guide to Australia, I wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the DVD player, but they'd still drink my wine.

What I want to see is an Australian wine show which is entertaining first, and informative second. It could be fictional even.

What immediately jumps out to me is the feature film Sideways. Sideways was a fictional movie, doubtlessly entertaining (even I enjoyed it and I generally hate 21st century Hollywood cinema), about two guys who take some time off to go and cruise up to California's wine country for a bit of wine drinking related malarkey. As wine lovers, we've all been there. The combination of the two main characters - one wine savvy and the other not - made for some interesting viewing, with subtle bits of wine information littered throughout the film, within the dialogue. Just look at what a little information, delivered to the public through an entertaining format, did for merlot's credibility. Some might say Sideways 'killed' merlot in some respects. Imagine what the reverse of this effect could do.

Oz Clarke and James May have provided a similarly styled duo of wine expert and wine beginner, in their Big Wine Adventures, which has gone on to become a reasonable success, by successfully combining entertainment with information. Unfortunately, although aired in a prime time spot by SBS, the show has so far only promoted French, American and English wine, not Australian. But as Australians, we can not sit around and wait for the English or Americans to come up with a show promoting our wine. It must be done by ourselves.

The Australian shows I mentioned previously definitively fall under the informative first, entertaining second category (my apologies to Big Blind Mike!), which essentially makes them quite dull to your 'average' wine drinker without industry experience or a 1000 bottle cellar. The internet video clips of people sitting around assessing wine are also unlikely to appeal to an audience outside of wine circles; just as this blog.

What I would love to see, is an Australian wine related sitcom (do Australians even make sitcoms anymore?). It could possibly be set in a cellar door, or winery, or somewhere similar. It would be funny, entertaining, and drop subtle hints of wine information in amongst the comedic madness. The show would revolve around character development and character interaction (a bit of slapstick, smut and old-fashioned prop comedy goes a long way in my eyes too!), but there'd be enough there to keep the wine savvy continuously tuning in for a laugh, alongside the non-wine loving viewer, whom hopefully, might learn a few things along the way.

It's just something I want.


  1. Yes, something I would love to see as well. They key would be for the wine film, sitcom, or whatever it was to be a quality production that would be a success regardless of whether wine was part of the show or not.

  2. Definitely Red. Wine only appeals to a small part of the population really, whereas quality entertainment appeals to everyone.

  3. Back when I had Pay TV, the Stuart MacGill wine show was good viewing, and really deserved wider distribution. It worked pretty well without going into the "What wine will go with this curried spam?" territory you get with Oz and James.MacGill came across as knowledgeable, enthusiastic and had put together something that worked as well as the Wine Lovers Guide without going over the top, with a different region every episode...

  4. I must admit I never saw Stuart MacGill's show on Pay TV, but I was certainly curious to see it. The choice of Stuart as a cricketer/celebrity always seem an interesting one to me. I just hope he did a better job on the wine show than when he presented the 2009 Ashes series with Damien Martyn and Greg Matthews... :/

  5. He came across as a bloke who knew a bit about wine and was keen to learn more as he talked to people from the particular region he was visiting that time around, which is a bit different to the old team mates banter you got with that Ashes coverage.
    It's all down to how you see the interactions, I guess. I find Oz and James very close to hessian underpants territory (James, definitely, with Oz guilty by association and allowing himself to be conned into something like that), but MacGill definitely came across better than I'd expected.

  6. Thanks for the insight Hughesy, much appreciated. I might have to see if I can find one of my torrent-literate mates to find me some episodes now.... ;)