Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Chunder’

I’ve just watched Stephen Oliver’s excellent documentary on Australian wine, and how it changed British drinking habits. The title, ‘Chateau Chunder,’ comes from a 1972 Monty Python sketch knocking Aussie wine.

“This is not a wine for drinking. This is a wine for laying down and avoiding.”

This reflects the attitudes towards Aussie wine in 1970s Britain. These attitudes were to change, though, and by the end of the 1980s, Australian wine had spearheaded an egalitarian revolution that changed the way that Brits approached wine, and brought what was previously an elite drink to the masses.

The documentary begins by showing how Australian table wine as we know it is a relatively recent thing. Although wine has been made in Australia since the 19th century, until the late 1970s the focus was on fortifieds. And the Australian drinking culture didn’t involve wine.

In the 1950s and early 60s if you drank table wine you were queer, or eccentric, or both. I had a girlfriend from university, from a country town, and her parents weren’t sure I was a suitable person because I was a plonkie.
Bruce Tyrrell

In 1965 exports of Australian wine were 8 million litres a year, one fiftieth of that of France. During the 1970s, exports of Aussie wine actually declined. But then came the revolution. By the early 1980s, Australia was 18th in the table of wine exportings; by the early 1990s it was 6th.
Read on…