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John Quinn
28 July 2016 | John Quinn

Good Food & Wine Show Sydney 2016

As an on-line retailer it’s not often we get the opportunity to get personal with our customers and physically taste our wines. We’ve taken a stand at the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show Fri Aug 5th to Sun 7th. It’s our first major event and we want YOU to join us.

We’ll taste a Semillon that loves seafood; Chardonnays from the full bodied style to a more elegant version; a Sauvignon Blanc with a difference. You’ll also get to taste some alternative red styles such as a Sangiovese, a Zinfandel and a Tempranillo. Then look at some classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines from our iconic big red regions. 

Enjoy a fun day out with friends at the Good Food & Wine Show discovering new ideas, products, tips and hints to inspire your next foodie and wine adventure.

As a friend of ours we’d like you join us and enjoy a 20% discount off tickets booked on line. 

Simply go to 
# Click on ‘BUY TICKETS’ 
# ‘Date’
# ‘Get tickets’
# ‘Enter Coupon Code’ -  ‘EXHIBITS’

See you there.


Time Posted: 28/07/2016 at 2:46 PM Permalink to Good Food & Wine Show Sydney 2016 Permalink
John Quinn
27 July 2016 | John Quinn

Winemaker - Andrew Thomas

Is this the vintage of the Century?
When I was a brand manager for Wynns Coonawarra Estate the outstanding 1990 vintage wines were coming up for release. Heralded by all, we marketers dubbed it ‘The Vintage of the Century’. Then winemaker Peter Douglas was horrified at such grandstanding. Funny days. Whilst world renowned, our winemakers are pretty humble people and don’t like head office going off. They prefer what’s in the bottle does the talking. That’s why most of them leave the corporate bullshit and go out on their own.

Which brings us to Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas and the release of his 2014 Hunter Valley Shiraz wines. Some have pondered could it be the best Hunter vintage to date; even more are convinced it will prove to be in the top 3; and most have little doubt it’s at least a 9 out of 10 if not a 10 out of 10.

- John Quinn

2014 Hunter Valley Shiraz the best vintage since 1965?
There's been a LOT of chatter about the outstanding quality of 2014 Hunter Valley shiraz. Some say it's the best since the legendary 1965 vintage. 

Well I was only just a twinkle in my father’s eye back then, but it's safe to say that 2014 is certainly a 'once or twice in a generation' kind of vintage, and this is definitely the best range of wines I have released in my 30 consecutive years of winemaking in the Hunter. 

Warm without being stinking hot.
Dry without being in drought.
Picking decisions totally based on fruit maturity and not distracted by the weather...

The wines are certainly in the fuller end of the medium bodied spectrum, but there's a real 'juiciness' to the fruit and amazing silky/supple tannins giving these wines the structure for excellent early drinking appeal, as well as remarkable longevity. I would love to have seen those 65's on release...... 

So what about the wine you ask...? 

The fruit for my Deja Vu shiraz is again sourced from the sandy loam soils of the Trevena vineyard on Hermitage Road (just over the fence from the Braemore vineyard), A quite intentionally lighter bodied tribute to traditional Hunter River Burgundy (Hunter shiraz for Pinot lovers....) and this 'pretty' red fruited style certainly punches well above its weight. 

You have probably noticed some relatively hefty pricing from some Hunter producers taking advantage of unprecedented demand for this outstanding vintage. There are a lot of wines with a $100+/$150+/$200+ per bottle price tag. 

I am pleased to report that I have maintained my usual pricing on all my wines.

I certainly don't mind being known as a making some of the finest quality wines in the region, as well as providing arguably the best value for money. Winemaking and vintage variation is all about light and shade, and I want my customers to buy my wines every year, not just cherry pick the outstanding vintages.....


Time Posted: 27/07/2016 at 2:43 PM Permalink to Winemaker - Andrew Thomas Permalink
John Quinn
20 July 2016 | John Quinn

Radio Interview: Food & Wine with Neil Breen and Ben Malouf

Neil Breen is joined by Ben Malouf to talk food and wine with John Quinn. July 15th 2016

Time Posted: 20/07/2016 at 9:16 AM Permalink to Radio Interview: Food & Wine with Neil Breen and Ben Malouf Permalink Comments for Radio Interview: Food & Wine with Neil Breen and Ben Malouf Comments (1)
John Quinn
18 July 2016 | John Quinn

Record high for Australian wine exports

Wine Australia has released its latest Export Report, which shows the value of Australian wine exports has continued to experience strong growth over the past 12 months.

From July 2015 to the end of June 2016, the value of Australian wine exports grew by 11 per cent. The growth was driven by bottled exports, particularly at higher price points. Bottled exports grew by 15 per cent to $1.7 billion and the average value of bottled exports increased by 9 per cent to $5.35 per litre, the highest since October 2003. 

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said: “Pleasingly, demand for Australian fine wine has continued to grow, particularly in North America and Asia.

“Our finest wines contributed to almost half of the total value growth in the last 12 months, with exports priced at $10 free on board (FOB) and over per litre up 26 per cent to a record $499 million.

“This increased demand for Australia’s finest wines was reflected in all of our top five export markets.

“Exports priced $10 FOB and over to the United States grew by 16 per cent, mainland China by 71 per cent, the United Kingdom by 15 per cent, Canada by 12 per cent, and Hong Kong by five per cent.

“This growth contributed an additional $102 million to the value of Australia’s wine exports.”

Earlier this year, TheShout reported that the Chinese wine market, which incorporates both China and Hong Kong, is now a bigger market that the US for Australian wine.

Wine Australia general manager of marketing, Stuart Barclay, told TheShout that the 66 per cent growth in the Chinese market represented both volume and value sales.

“The Chinese market is still very strong, and when you combine this with the Hong Kong market it is worth over $500 million. The growth is coming from across China at lots of different price points, including very strong growth for sales above $10," Barclay said in April.

“By comparison, the US market is one of our toughest markets. This used to be a $1 billion market and we are now doing around $440 million.”

The latest Export Report shows that the US wine market grew by eight per cent to $449 million in the 12 months to June 2016, while China grew by 50 per cent to $419 million. The Hong Wine market was up by 11 per cent to $124 million.

In total wine exports reached $2.11 billion, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year. All export regions recorded growth in the last year, except for Europe, which declined by one per cent to $574 million. Northeast Asia continued to lead growth, with value increasing by $158 million (34 per cent) to $618 million. Next in absolute growth was North America, growing by $46 million (8 per cent) to $646 million. Growth slowed to Southeast Asia, up $7 million (5 per cent) to $142 million.

In the US the trend towards Australia’s premium wines continued with exports priced $10 and above per litre FOB increasing by 16 per cent, reflecting the improving perception of Australian wine among the US trade, with a growing number of importers taking on more premium Australian brands. 

Clark added: “There is still much work to do in increasing the awareness and availability of premium Australian wine in the US. To continue sustainable growth in our most valuable market requires a long-term approach and a focus on re-establishing relationships and confidence in the category, supported by significant, consistent investment to drive the Australian fine wine message.”


John Quinn
15 July 2016 | John Quinn

Liquor retailer launches Iconic wine platform

Sydney independent retailer and former Penfolds executive John Quinn (right) has partnered with Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane (left) to launch Iconic Winemakers, a new online platform to showcase Australia's best winemakers.

By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

The new platform operates as a champion for Australian wine with its focus on high quality over price.

Founder Quinn told TheShout: "What we're about is quality and not price. Many of our competitors are about sending out a mixed case every month filled with old labels or dormant stock - but the reason that people do that is because the wine didn't sell in the first place. 

"We are all about quality. Really the definition of an iconic winemaker is someone who once worked for the big corporates and is now out doing their own thing. So this is all about quality wines that aren't easy to find. Anything that we do and any of our activity, is really about talking about the winemaker and educating people about the winemaker and different wine regions etc."

Quinn continues: “If you picture the great Max Schubert, who created Grange, leaving Penfolds to start Schubert’s Wines – that’s an Iconic Winemaker.

“Our talent has excelled with Lindeman’s, Penfolds, Hardy’s, Houghton’s, Orlando, Rosemount, Seppelt, Tyrrell’s - the list goes on. They have typically also advised in the ‘old world’ wine regions of France, Italy and Germany. So career-wise they are at the top of their game.”

Iconic Winemakers provides a platform for this elite group of Australian winemakers to share their own labels, along with their stories, with Australian wine consumers. The vision is that over time the site will grow to include wines created by the winemakers exclusive for Iconic Winemakers.

Referencing common discount-led online retailers led by major retailers, Quinn explained what Iconic Winemakers is not.

“Discounted wines, old label clearances or pushing mixed dozens to move dormant stock is not us. What makes Iconic Winemakers unique is that we’re driven by quality, not a price point,” he said.

“Our selection is not available in bottle shops or big retail chains. It is free to subscribe and there are no obligations or compulsory delivery cycles, so you don’t have a mixed case turning up on your doorstep every three months and an unwanted credit card charge.”

Loane sees similarities between the Iconic Winemakers premise and what made Lindt a giant in the FMCG space.

“When I came to Lindt 19 years ago, everyone was a milk chocolate person and we were told by major customers ‘Australians don’t want to pay that amount of money for chocolate, and dark chocolate is never going to be a main player in the market place’, ” he said.

We now have 15 per cent of the block market share with dark chocolate because the market has changed. Consumers are more educated and prefer just a few quality pieces of chocolate at night – less is more.

“The wine market is similar. Local consumers are more educated than ever about wine and don’t buy solely on price. This changing consumer will appreciate our proposition.”

Iconic Winemakers will introduce new selections regularly, with wines currently ranging from $20 to $75.


John Quinn
28 June 2016 | John Quinn

Wine industry back in the mid 1980’s

I was lucky enough to start my career in the wine industry back in the mid 1980’s. It was a great time where the industry had a certain romance about it and the joint was driven by marketing and winemaking. Today unfortunately the bus has a different driver. It is now driven by accountants and production departments answerable to the bean counters.

Last week saw the foreign owned Orlando (now known as Pernod Ricard) announce the closing of its ‘Morris of Rutherglen’ operations, a former stalwart brand of the Australian Industry. As one of our Iconic Winemakers, Andrew Thomas,  tweeted “Another sad example of dickhead corporate accountants making decisions affecting the very fabric of our winemaking history.”

Time Posted: 28/06/2016 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Wine industry back in the mid 1980’s Permalink Comments for Wine industry back in the mid 1980’s Comments (1)
John Quinn
27 June 2016 | John Quinn

British vote to leave the EU

As I write the British vote to leave the EU is about 50:50; during the day it’s been as wide as 55:45 in favour of leaving. Whilst most commentators have concentrated on the financial markets and how they will effect Australia I’m more interested on how the wine industry will be implicated. My gut feel is it could open opportunities. If European Countries take umbrage with the UK then a few more doors may open for Australian wine in the mother Country.