California dreaming

Madam Cholet 23 April 2010 26

I have been searching for sometime now to find Californian wines being retailed in Canberra. To date I have had absolutely no luck, apart from a few bottles of fairly expensive stuff at Vintage Cellars. We have been glugging away at French, Italian, German, Chilean, and even a French wine that was apparently the mother of Californian vines, but have just drawn a blank on anywhere that might sell Californian.

I know it sounds a bit high falutin’ but our interest was piqued by a wine show on SBS in recent times. Would love to give some of them a go.

I’m originally from the UK and Californian wines are readily available there.

What’s the problem here though?


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26 Responses to California dreaming
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Jethro Jethro 5:43 pm 23 May 11

As with almost any other retail purchase I would suggest buying online.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 5:17 pm 23 May 11

usawinesdirect said :

Hi There, You might like to look at our website usawinesdirect.com.au for a good selection of wines produced in the US at fair prices. We ship Australia wide via Australia Post. Our customer service phone # is 1300 USWINE (87 9463) or shop online.

1300 U SWINE … didn’t think that one through very clearly.

usawinesdirect usawinesdirect 3:32 pm 23 May 11

Hi There, You might like to look at our website usawinesdirect.com.au for a good selection of wines produced in the US at fair prices. We ship Australia wide via Australia Post. Our customer service phone # is 1300 USWINE (87 9463) or shop online.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 11:07 am 24 Apr 10

Plonk (now at the Fyshwick Markets) is the best wine and boutique beer shop in the ACT

I guess that’s why I have been let down so many times when I’ve gone there.

Sure they can get something in if they don’t have it in stock – but so can you local IGA. I’ve found their range of wines to be somewhat underwhelming and often inconsistent (like their buying bin ends). Their range of local wines is great but their prices aren’t competitive when compared to purchasing of the local producers mailing lists.

They’re certainly good for beers although with many of the non-bottle conditioned beers you probably have to take a chance that they haven’t been sitting on the shelf for a while.

As for Californian wines, the Nappa and Sonoma regions make some outstanding wines: Stag’s leap, Clos du Val, Freemark, Ridge, Mayacamas and Chalone (south of San Francisco so not actually part of the Nappa)but these are wines that in their premium guise will stand toe-to-toe with the best wines from Bordeaux, the Italian super-Tuscans and Australia’s super-premium offerings. Expect to pay (and be rewarded for paying) northwards of $200 a bottle for the ‘reserve’ wines.

For your day-to-day reds and whites in the sub-$50 a bottle range the pickings will be exceptionally slim for the reasons that many have already alluded to. Australian wines are simply too competitive both in terms of price and quality to make it worthwhile exporting the mass market labels.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 10:03 am 24 Apr 10

Trunking symbols said :

A shop which has the name “plonk” doesn’t exactly strike me as a destination for wine conosseurs. In fact I’d be surprised if they sold anything more exotic than Chateau Cardboard.

Haha, you poor fool…

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 9:36 am 24 Apr 10

Imported wine from the other side of the world has little to recommend it outside of snob value.

Everything James and Oz said about Californian wines could have been said about their Aus equivalents, and possibly more so.

harvyk1 harvyk1 9:17 am 24 Apr 10

Californian wine makers have little interest in exporting to Australia… Apparently we are hard market to export wine to as we already have a strong wine industry and the exchange rates don’t help very much (they know they will either be very expensive or they will make a loss)…

This is at least according to the wine maker I met in SF last year (whilst drinking the wine they made, which was very good :)…

ramblingted ramblingted 8:07 am 24 Apr 10

Trunking symbols said :

grunge_hippy said :

doesnt plonk at the fyshwick markets claim to have stuff from overseas?

A shop which has the name “plonk” doesn’t exactly strike me as a destination for wine conosseurs. In fact I’d be surprised if they sold anything more exotic than Chateau Cardboard.

You would be surprised then….

outdoormagoo outdoormagoo 7:44 am 24 Apr 10

Ohh I’m an uppity pube who won’t shop at a place called plonk

Well for your information, unlike vintage cellars and jim murphys the guys at plonk actually know their stuff. They also sell the wines from the local region that no-one else has. As a wise fanatic it is my chosenn place to get good wine and not the $15 bottles of mass produced crap that Vintage cellars have.

If you wish to try Californian wines try buying off the net or go to Sydney. That’s my preferred option as most the bottle shops in Canberra stock rubbish when it comes to imported wine.

Would I be right in guessing you watched Oz and James

TheVirulentOne TheVirulentOne 7:20 am 24 Apr 10

Always great to see people commenting on things they know nothing about – “A shop which has the name “plonk” doesn’t exactly strike me as a destination for wine conosseurs. In fact I’d be surprised if they sold anything more exotic than Chateau Cardboard.”

Plonk (now at the Fyshwick Markets) is the best wine and boutique beer shop in the ACT, by far. Want a Canberra region wine, go there, no-one else stocks that diverse range.

What they don’t have much of is California wines – my interest was also piqued by the recent James & Oz Wine Adventure on SBS, and I’ve had little luck finding any decent Napa or Sonoma wines. But the exchange rate is great, so a trip to California is on the horizon !

Trunking symbols Trunking symbols 7:24 pm 23 Apr 10

grunge_hippy said :

doesnt plonk at the fyshwick markets claim to have stuff from overseas?

A shop which has the name “plonk” doesn’t exactly strike me as a destination for wine conosseurs. In fact I’d be surprised if they sold anything more exotic than Chateau Cardboard.

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 6:58 pm 23 Apr 10

Fully agree with Wraith and Holden.
Have you tried the grog shop at Oak’s Estate (the old Nissen hut at 4 McEwen St). Hope this helps.

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 4:18 pm 23 Apr 10

doesnt plonk at the fyshwick markets claim to have stuff from overseas?

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 3:28 pm 23 Apr 10

Nothing wrong with Californian wines but they’re no better than cheaper local equivalents. There’s no mystery that I can see.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 2:41 pm 23 Apr 10

madamcholet said :

Australia makes the best Australian wines. You just can’t make flat statements about Australian wine being better – it’s too complex.

Let me guess, California makes the best Californian wines?

I’d say Wraith is right though, you don’t have to try too hard to find local wines are generally of a high to very high standard at reasonable pricing.

So, along with supporting the Australian industry, there’s probably not much call for imported wines. Especially at more moderate price points.

madamcholet madamcholet 2:27 pm 23 Apr 10

Australia makes the best Australian wines. You just can’t make flat statements about Australian wine being better – it’s too complex.

Wraith Wraith 2:11 pm 23 Apr 10

What’s the problem here though?

Simple, Australian wines are so much better, and yes I have tasted Californian wine, whilst not bad, it pales in comparison.

This might be one reason why its hard to find, because most people probably can’t be bothered with so much nice wine here and at good prices.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 2:02 pm 23 Apr 10

The Providore Wine Merchant in Manuka has a handful of Californain wines – mainly zinfandels and the odd syrah from the Nappa Valley (which are quite good in their own right) but I haven’t seen any of the great Pinots or Cabernets that California is supposed to be famous for. You’ll pay between $35-80 a bottle though so its in the ball-park with Vintage Cellars who pretty much only seem to stock Ridge Vineyard from Nappa.

WhyTheLongFace WhyTheLongFace 1:34 pm 23 Apr 10

Hard to get here in Aust as there is no interest from local consumers.

Given the exchange rate over the past few years, Yank wine was very poor value. Aussie dollar strength should help this but not many importers worry about them.

As the UK is not a wine producing nation (tiny amounts) they import loads of wine from everywhere, they are also geographically closer to most international wine regions. Here in Aust we support our local producers and don’t import nearly as much, thus the limited selection of foreign wines.

Imports are on the rise, no doubt we will see more variety in the near future.

No idea where to get US wine locally, have you thought about looking to the better shops in Sydney and Melbourne and having it shipped to you?

p1 p1 1:33 pm 23 Apr 10

At the cheaper end of the price range, I believe the problem is one of value for money (or lack there of) compared to Aust wines. Surprised there isn’t more medium/higher priced stuff around though, although can’t day I’ve looked.

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