The power of social media

September 7, 2012

As you know, I usually do not write about negative things. Wines which I did not like, I do not report about. Similarly I deal with restaurants I visited and dishes which I found wanting.

In more than 5 1/2 years as food and wine blogger, the Man from Mosel River has only twice issued a critique. In both cases it was about wineries I visited where I felt ill treated. One was about Punt Road Winery in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. The second about Weingut Von Othegraven in Kanzem, Saar, Germany.

In both cases senior management of the wineries in question has apologized to me. Punt Road got back to me within days, Von Othegraven respondedn within two weeks. In both cases I have accepted the apology. And in both cases I was invited to visit again. The wine-maker of Von Othegraven offered a wine tasting to make good for the sloppy service I encountered when visiting the place last July.

I find this very remarkable. It shows that in the time of the fast internet and social media, businesses cannot afford not to respond to queries. This is a very positive thing. Consumers have not only purchasing power but also the power to influence the public perception, the image of a company.

This experience confirms that my cautious use of negative critique is justified, and effective.

Cheers everybody


Winery review: Punt Road Wines – Yarra Valley, Victoria

February 4, 2012

Punt Road cellar door entry

We were on St Hubert’s Road on our way to Healesville when we passed Punt Road Winery and decided on the spot to drop in. Our main motivation was to buy some of the famous pear cider for Michael, my brother-in-law.

The back entrance to the tasting room

In all the many years we have come to the Yarra Valley, we had never made it to this well known winery. The estate with about 75 ha under vines (two vineyards, one planted in 1987 and the other in 2001) is owned and operated by the Napoleone family.

The senior wine-maker is Kate Goodman, one of the so called “young guns” of the Australian wine industry and much sought after judge for wine competitions.

The Punt Road vineyards are planted with the white varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier and the reds Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

The cider stacks

From the outside we already spotted the boxes with the Napoleone Co. apple and pear cider piled up in a neat stack.

My heart jumped. Here it was, the golden liquid which stirs up so much emotions, and is considered one of the best ciders in the valley. Quality has its price, so a box of the stuff does not come cheap.

Having been raised in Trier at the Mosel river, I am very familiar with cider, which is called “Viez” in the local dialect. “Viez” is a mixture of fermented apples and pear juice coming from a very small kind of apples/pears (they are in-edible and very very sour/acidic).

The trees are grown along the rural roads. All the peasant in the region used to make their own cider, as a very refreshing drink for home consumption.

The garden

The premises are very lovely with wide open spaces, tables and chairs, picnic facilities and an area prepared for boule playing (pétanque).

The back porch

We had not time for a proper tasting. The man behind the counter was not very welcoming either. So we decided to try some of their bubbly and the Pinot Gris which we (my wife Margit and I) both liked.

I am not a fan of Pinot Gris but this one was just the right stuff for a hot summers day. We bought a bottle of each. Later we also tasted the Pinot Noir, but the 2010 vintage did not catch our fancy.

The two bottles we acquired at Punt Road Winery

Golden liquid: Punt Road Pinot Gris

I guess we will have to come back for a proper tasting. Punt Road is a good place to visit in the Yarra Valley.

Address:
Punt Road Wines
10 St Huberts Road – Coldstream
Victoria, Australia 3770
Tel.: +61 3 9739 0666
Fax: + 61 3 9739 0633
wine@puntroadwines.com.au
www.puntroadwines.com.au