Diluting Oz must


Australian winemakers have been diluting overripe grape juice with water for decades. The practice is forbidden – but that doesn’t stop people doing it.

I’ve heard countless nudge-nudge, wink-wink stories of 18 Baumé Shiraz must being given a bit of the ‘black snake’ treatment to drop it back to 14 (not all winery water hoses are black – but you get the picture), and larger wineries diluting high-sugar juice with what they euphemistically refer to as ‘low-sugar juice’ – also known as ‘grape-derived water’, reclaimed from must concentration.

Last month, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) applied to the authorities...