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Jamie Oliver’s restaurants slammed for not stocking Australian wine.

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Jamie Oliver’s self-named restaurants are the latest to cop a birching for not stocking Australian wines. But in Jamie’s case, the neglect is compounded by the scent of hypocrisy.

His restaurants stock almost exclusively Italian imported wines at the same time they profess to be “locavore”. Sourcing fresh food ingredients locally is currently very fashionable, but how does that philosophy tally with importing cases of bottled wines from the other side of the globe?

It wasn’t me who started this latest debate, but Adelaideans checking out their new Jamie’s Italian. The wine list was all Italian except for a house red and a house white, both from inter-state (Victoria – the King Valley). When the fuss erupted, the restaurant swiftly installed two branded South Australian wines, a Beach Road Fiano (tastings) and Casa Freschi La Signora (tastings).

Australian restaurants serving only Italian wine is not unusual. I found the wine list 100% Italian at Sydney’s A Tavola, Darlinghurst last week. But, as the Adelaide protesters pointed out, the reverse (an all-Australian wine list) is unlikely to happen in Italy.

One of the critics dug out this incriminating quote from Jamie Oliver himself, from The Advertiser SA Weekend on August 30: “What’s really exciting me is looking for amazing local producers and suppliers. I really encourage any little artisan producers to get in touch with my team.“

Perhaps this should be read as an invitation to small local wineries.

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