Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Scene at a bar.

Ah, the wine list, please, sommelier. Or do you prefer to be addressed as the wine waiter?

You can call me what you like, sir, so long as you leave a tip.

Fine. Ah, the Eileen Hardy chardonnay, please.

Certainly sir. A fine choice. Citrus, melon, gooseberry notes with a touch of sultana. *

A former winery boss has been found guilty of passing off sultana grapes as the more prized chardonnay variety, Adelaide Now reports.

One-time managing director of Riverland-based Rivers Wines, Andrew Hashim has been convicted in the Magistrates Court on 34 counts of falsifying records, following the company having earlier pleaded guilty to 97 similar counts.

The court found that large quantities of grape juice and wine were sold as chardonnay during the 2003 vintage to more than 10 companies including Hardy's, now known as Constellation Australia, and Orlando, now owned by Pernod Ricard.
Meanwhile, in a town called Griffith, where anything could happen, the Wine Grapes Marketing Board has swooped on a liquor retailer and bought up all remaining stocks of dumped Argentinian wine being sold there in 2-litre bottles for $1 each:

Before the the board decided to buy the last remaining bottles of the wine, Mr Simpson said it was being dumped on the market at a time when oversupply was sending local growers to the wall.

He said the board also intended to have the wine tested to ensure it met Australian standards for minimum chemical residue limits.
I think he meant 'maximum'. Meanwhile, grape growers are giving up the whole shambles of an industry and ripping out vines:

DIABOLICAL. That's the word being used to describe the plight of grape growers in what for many is the lowest-paid harvest in nearly 20 years.

With vintage completed in Australia's inland, irrigated wine regions, another 20-30 per cent price cut has signalled breaking point for many growers. ... more than 4000ha of vines - or 17-18 per cent of the Riverland's vineyards - being ripped out or abandoned in the past two years.

On the Victorian side of the Murray Valley, growers have already abandoned or removed at least 3600ha of vines.

Meanwhile, back at the bar ...

Sultana? Don't you mean grigio or SB, waiter?

Er, yes. Sorry, sir. I was looking at the dessert blackboard at the time. Who'd put sultana juice in chardonnay? (LAUGHS) Ridiculous.

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