SA Wine melts down in New York


A hectic week for WOSA’s new broom, Siobhan Thompson.  On Friday she was intronized into the Commanderie de Bordeaux – an honour denied her divisive predecessor, even though the CEO of WOSA is the face of SA wine overseas and France is now sixth largest importer of SA wine. Confirming just how much bulk exports destabilize traditional markets.  Doesn’t France have enough of its own wine it can’t sell?  On Saturday a bombshell from Mrs. Robinson, wine columnist for the Weekend Financial Times.

coman SA Wine melts down in New York

Lunching at consecutive 3 star Michelin diners (Per Se and Le Bernardin) in Manhattan, the first freebee from Wines of Chile, the second an Austrian affair, JR remarks on the various clouds of freebee flies buzzing around the tables.  At the Austrian affair “my collaborator in the World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson; the wine correspondents of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Bloomberg; and some of the most prominent bloggers, educators and wine raters.”

In passing, don’t you just love JR’s house style of constantly big noting herself by the way?  A more motley crew for Wines of Chile.  The reason?  “I asked a couple of them why the crowds were so different at the two events and was told, deadpan, it was because ‘the southern hemisphere is out of fashion‘ ”.

JR was “fascinated to observe just how fashion-conscious [NYC] wine commentators are together with members of the tight-knit sommelier community.” The tale of two luxurious lunches confirms that Su Birch’s WOSA swan song, the recent International Sommelier World Cup (with NO  SA participation, natch) was a complete flop. In Manhattan, at least.

fash 615x289 SA Wine melts down in New York

So is SA really out of fashion in the Big Apple or is it rather a case of appalling distribution and appalling ineffectiveness laced with nepotism by WOSA NY?

Horror stories concerning New Jersey importers Knauth en Visser and the hassles NY restaurants and wine bars have in getting SA stock, plus allegations of impropriety at WOSA NY, should be high on the new broom’s agenda. For to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “if you can’t make it in New York, you won’t make it anywhere. It’s up to you. New York, New York!”