The Australian authorities have warned that the wine industry’s existence is under threat, following an unprecedented plague of supermarket buyers.
Alien invasion – with laptops
Some cellars in the Riverland and South-East Australia have been inundated, with huge swarms of rapacious MWs brandishing laptops.
‘They can empty your tanks in minutes,’ said one winery owner, ‘and barely leave you enough money to buy a new pair of Blundstones.’
Industry insiders are describing the plague as being the worst thing for the Australian wine industry since former premier Scott Morrison accidentally copied Xi Jinping into an email calling him a bean-shoot bothering genocidal maniac.
‘We’d expect small numbers of buyers every year and we’re well able to cope with them,’ said Murray River of the Australian Booze Confederation (ABC). ‘But this invasion is unprecedented.
‘They’re everywhere you look, swarming round your unsold wine, nibbling away at your margins and clogging up your email inbox.’
Lee Majors of Dingo’s Dongle winery described the whining noise as ‘deafening’ and said this year’s buyers were ‘the densest I’ve ever seen – which is really saying something.’
According to wine pest expert Dr Mi Li Bugg, buyers are attracted by the scent of overproduction, and once they get a whiff of distressed pricing they can be incredibly hard to dislodge.
‘In the old days people used to spray them with invective,’ she told Fake Booze. ‘But nowadays growers prefer to repel them with a more eco-friendly solution, such as failing to provide hot air balloon trips over the vineyards or planting Airen.’
But while these lower-intervention measures can repel buyers in normal circumstances, they are not effective in really difficult years.
‘Buyers are incredibly resilient,’ said Dr Bugg. ‘If they think they can pick up a million litres of unsold Shiraz for a song you’d need to chop off their legs, burn their passport and threaten their family to keep them away.
‘And even then Tesco and Lidl would probably still get through.’
… Or is there?
Despite advances in science, few countries have managed to eradicate buyers entirely.
Though observers are optimistic about a new experimental technique coming out of Georgia.
‘It’s early days,’ said Dr Bugg. ‘But it looks like a twin-pronged attack, where your good wines are suicidally expensive and your cheap wines are so bad that even the Dutch won’t drink them really works.’
Wine historian Troost Ori has warned that if the plague of buyers is not dealt with the consequences could be dire, even going so far as to call it ‘a second phylloxera’.
‘With its thick skin, spindly legs and voracious appetite these tenacious little critters all but destroyed the European wine industry,’ he said.
‘And the phylloxera louse was bad news too.’
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