So what characteristics do Australian wines have? Well, as ever, it’s the heat, sun and rainfall, plus soil of course, the thing the French call “Terroir”, that shape the taste. And the right grape variety for the location.
What has that got to do with a wine merchant with 200 years of history? Avery’s of Bristol started in 1793, but in the 1920’s it was the great Ronald Avery who led success. He believed a good wine merchant needed to travel, to meet the winemakers, to look them in the eye and build relationships of trust. He was persuaded to buy a few cases of an unknown wine called Chateau Petrus – today one of the most famous and costly wines in the world.
John Avery, the son, followed, and he too pioneered much, including imports from California and Australia. He was certainly a character, and chose to drive around Australia in a Rolls Royce. He brought back the then unknown Penfolds Grange 1960 – another wine set to become a world classic.
John died suddenly in March 2012, and now his daughter Mimi is at the Avery’s helm.
In 2016, Mimi decided to take her Mother on a trip to Australia, meeting the growers her Father had met, and continuing that tradition of personal contacts and relationship. Part family memory and part business. She spoke to us.