Finding it hard to pick a gem? Michael Hartley shares his top wine buying tips, be it for a midweek quaffer or something a bit special for a dinner party.
Michael Hartley’s Wine Buying Tips
Price is most likely the deciding factor for most when purchasing wines, be it a week day quaffer or something a bit special for a dinner party. An expensive wine, however, is not necessarily a better wine.
More expensive wines are generally from a single site and will contain higher packaging and production costs. They may use new French oak and hand pick the fruit for example, whereas cheaper wines may use older oak or none and be machine harvested, thus keeping costs down.
Regionality plays its part too, take Willyabrup in the Margaret River region for example, it has some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the country and their wines are priced accordingly, but travel a few kilometres north or south the prices will fall. Its still Cabernet and its still from a great area and wont blow your hard earned.
Most wine merchants and sommeliers get to taste many wines and will have a range of wines covering many price points, so my best advice is to ask! Many will have their own little gems they have found tucked away, so listen to their suggestions heed their advice and save yourself some dollars.
About Michael Hartley
Michael Hartley is Steves new resident Sommelier and professional wine consultant.
His passion for fine wine sees Michael on a continuous quest to expand his industry knowledge through education seminars, reading and networking, regularly holding wine tastings and degustation evenings for several high profile Western Australian and interstate personnel.
Michael serves on various wine judging panels, including being a panel member for the first tasting line-up for down south magazine, VIP and Scoop. His tasting notes for Burgundian wines were included in Jean Daniel Ichallalene book Frogs Legs and Kangaroo Tales.]
Having travelled extensively in France tasting and buying wines from Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and Bordeaux, he now offers a world class cellar at Steves Fine Wines. He has represented McHenry Hohnen Vintners and other brands under the Louis Latour Agency at the London Wine Fair on numerous occasions. His love of wine and his vast experience resulted in Michael being responsible for Steves 2010 & 2011 Australian Hotels Association Award for Best Wine List.
More recently, Michael has Judged the Perth Royal show as an associate from 2013 through 2015.
He left Steves in 2015 and spent 2.5 years in wine wholesale before returning.