Australia’s great red wine hope

Penfolds Bin 389, a blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, is a hit in China. Jeni Port asks what this augurs for other Australian producers.

Alister Purbrick, chief executive of Tahbilk, which exports a red blend into China.
Alister Purbrick, chief executive of Tahbilk, which exports a red blend into China.

When Australian wine producers look at the runaway success in China of fellow winemaker Penfolds, there is envy in their eyes. And who wouldn’t want even a tiny slice of Penfolds’ sales in China?  
 
Yet despite its success in China, Penfolds has been frustrated at not being able to keep up with demand for its popular Bin 389 blended red wine. But when West Australian winemaker Jeff Burch of Howard Park looked at Penfolds’ dilemma, he saw an opportunity. 

The big red question

Chinese drinkers clearly have a thirst for Bin 389, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, and Burch and his winemaker Janice McDonald decided they will help quench it, though their version will not have the trademark name, of course.

“We’ve just produced our 389,” he said. “It’s Cab Shiraz, it’s the same...

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