Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

A Nation of Oenophiles

One of the things I really love about Australia is that pretty much all the people I've encountered know and love wine without having any trace of wine snobbery. I mentioned this to Mike C. the other night when he picked me up at the airport and he said that he did know a few wine snobs here but yeah, basically this is true. Literally everyone I've dined with since I arrived -- even the austere Calvinist kindly minister -- could talk about the available wines and what seemed good with what we were eating, with small asides to me the tourist about the local wine and the characteristics of the locally grown grapes.

You know, it's hard to describe this without making it seem as though that's wine snobbery, but truly it all has the air of people discussing what pizza toppings they prefer or what sort of desserts a particular restaurant has.

When I bought my first book about Australia last summer, a general tourist guidebook, it started to seem funny to me that each area I read about was described as being a wine-growing region. Of course I was mostly reading about places I'd be visiting, but even so it was clear that this country has become a vast producer of wine. In fact, for pretty much the last year I've been drinking mostly Australian wines myself, in preparation for this trip, and under $10 bottles (my general limit) are readily available in the US. What's amazing is that the entire Australian wine industry has pretty much developed in only the last couple of decades, I believe.

Most of the labels are pretty cool, too.
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