Southcorp swallows up Rosemount adding this popular name to a monolith that already includes Penfolds, Lindemans, Seppelts, Tollana, Seaview, Coldstream Hills, Devils Lair, James Herrick and many, many more. Rosemount has always been very much a family company (as witness its current agressive advertising) - so much so they are supposed to be getting into bed with Robert Mondavi on a joint venture, which is difficult to imagine once Southcorp get involved. The rumours are that Southcorp shareholders were demanding a bit more wine expertise at the top and the Oatley family will provide this. The takeover also allows Southcorp to leapfrog over BRL Hardy to become Australia's biggest wine company once more (and one that is much more powerful in the US than Hardys), although Fosters' new amalgamation of Beringer of California and Mildara Blass of Australia, now called Beringer Blass, is claiming to be a bigger company globally.
One more Asian country comes into the wine-drinking fold. On 1 April India's alcohol distribution laws are being substantially liberalised and there is no shortage of wouldbe wine-lovers among India's well heeled. There are now at least three serious wine producers in India (Chateau Indage, Grover and now Sula) and I even met a keen Master of Wine candidate on my last (and first) trip there in mid February.
There is to be an attempt at identifying the upper echelons of that vast, amorphous category known as Vins de Pays d'Oc. The title Grand d'Oc is to be awarded, on the basis of tastings, to just one per cent of all the wine produced, according to the trade magazine Harpers. First of these gilded lilies to appear will be the 2000 whites, although to qualify all wines have to have been aged for at least 12 months and bottled in the region. I just wonder how many of the dozens of seriously good Languedoc producers will bother to submit their wines to this rather bureaucratic process. They tend to be anarchic nonconformist by nature.