Never Judge a Book or in this case a Wine by its cover.

Never Judge a Book or in this case a Wine by its cover.

Here I am in the sleepy little New South Wales Far South Coast town of Bermagui, now I have been coming here off and on for many years and this place has always been a sleepy little fishing village.

Times have changed and the world is starting to catch up with even this most quiet part of the world, which as we know has its negatives and positives.

I wandered around town and looked at things, checking out as I usually do what wines and spirits are being sold. I am come across the local “ bottle shop” as we call them in Australia Bermagui Cellars.

The cellars are part of a larger branded banner chain of liquor stores so I thought to myself that they will most likely sell and service a pretty standard range of bigger wine, beer and spirits brands.

I wandered inside and took time to look around and came immediately across a European wine section. Impressed but not as impressed as when I first saw the 2009 Masi Vapolicella which happens to be one of my favorite Italian wines, well priced at about $29.00 too.

What else is there, to my surprise I found a great array of Northern Rhone’s, Chateau Neuf de Pape and so on, this was such a wonderful surprise as the store stocked wines that I would never have dreamed that they would -but does the sales team have the skills and knowledge to sell them?

These wines were well priced; clearly there were no signs of gouging here, just great wines at great prices very pleasing indeed. Here the sweet spot was around $25.00 per bottle buy this did not stop many of Guy’s customers paying a lot more than that for that special and unique wines.

I got talking to the store manager Guy and his assistant James; wine seems to create no matter where you go a great platform for engagement. I complimented Guy on his range and we talked about this for a while and what the future direction of the store was which was to continue to stock and provide more and more wines like I had seen when I first walked in.

I complimented him on his courage but questioned his sanity. Guy reminded me how much the area had changed and how diverse the local and visiting population had become. You have to remember that the town even now has a dedicated wine bar to & even a “hatted” restaurant which I would never have thought that the town would be able to sustain but it does.

I was reminded to that the region has had a long-term relationship with wine. I am sure not that many of you would have heard of the wines from Tilba Estate at Tilba, Grevilla Estate at Bega or even the latest vineyard to the region Mimosa Rocks Wines. They have a long way to go still, the price for their wines are quiet high and the quality/consistency is mixed from vintage to vintage.

It was clear Guy had a passion for wine, a chef by trade he escaped the ‘ rat race” of Sydney to seek a quieter and balanced life, I really enjoyed my time with him.

Bermagui as is about as far off the grid as it gets. He admitted that he and the boss were real Pinot blokes, which is a big admission here in Australia and that James was a real Riesling guy sadly yet another tortured soul.

Clearly we could have talked for hours but he had a business to run and customers to serve, who we agreed we needed to more and more customer education to take place as many are at the end of the day are such creatures of habit or of the latest marketing campaign.

Funnily enough I witnessed this first hand when a group of women walked in to the store clearly with a mission they had to find half a dozen bottles of AC/DC Rock’ n Roll Cabernet Sauvignon because they seen/heard somewhere that this was a great wine…mmmm sorry without sounding like a real snob I would never describe it in those words but it backs up our belief that people will just about believe anything.

AC/DC do us all a favor and stick to making great music please and leave the wine world alone.

For me this experience was priceless and also was the opportunity that had been presented to me which I must admit was unplanned but all the same gave me the perfect platform to be able to share some of my knowledge, wisdom and insights.

The other real bonus is that next Thursday which I would never have thought about in my wildest dreams that I would presenting a selection of my wines to a liquor outlet in quiet old Bermagui.

Lesson learned here my friends. Never judge a book by its cover as you have to as I found need to turn a few pages to see if you really like what you are reading…. I am so glad I wandered in as I have also made a new friend along the way in Guy and have challenged my own conventional wisdom.

My last word on this, try and do something different life is to short to drink bad wine as William Shakespeare said “ good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used”.

Cheers

Leigh

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