By Ian Neubauer

Boxing great Jeff Fenech will launch his own range of wine at a Chinese restaurant in Sydney tomorrow (Jun 16).

The range includes Whitebox, Cahilton, Huma and Buddhas and is produced by Stuart Wines at vineyards in Heathcote and the Yarra Valley.

Stuart Wines has been producing the labels since 2002 but will hold the official launch tomorrow to mark Fenech’s involvement and the inking of a deal with Dan Murphy’s for national distribution earlier this year.

“I was told by Woolworths that our Whitebox Shiraz from Heathcote is their best selling red at the moment,” said Stuart Wines Company director Hendra Widjaja.

Widjaja attributes his success to chief winemaker Peter Wilson and everyday luck. “Most great reds happen by accident, don’t they?” he said.

Widjaja said Fenech became involved in the company after a mutual friend sent him a sample. “Jeff is a wine enthusiast. He loves his red wine. After he tasted it, he asked if he could become involved in the wine business with me.”

Speaking to TheShout today (Jun 15), Fenech said it was love at first sip.

“One of my catches is that I tell people the truth. I often go to functions where they served wine that tastes like vinegar. It’s an insult. ‘Do you want me to come back here? I ask them. No one wants to drink this s**t,” he said in his trademark bullet-speed English.

“But the first time me and my wife tasted this wine … I’m telling you, you put this in any function room anywhere in Australia and people will drink it. I’ve given bottles to my Spanish friends, my Italian friends and they all love it. I’ve sent a couple of bottles to some of the restaurants I go to and they get customers trying it for the first time and saying they want to buy two or three boxes straight away.

“So I thought there might be something in it, flew down to the Yarra Valley and tried all these wines, met a lot of people, did a deal with them and invested a large amount of money. Now I’m using my connections to move it around. I’ve got meetings set up with all sorts of people. I tell them, ‘Wouldn’t you rather spend three or four dollars extra on a bottle and get this, instead of watching your customers walk out?’”

The Whitebox launch will take place tomorrow at China Grand restaurant at 6:30pm. Attendance is by invitation only. For enquiries call 02 9699 2000.

Stuart Wines Company wines are distributed in Australia by Beach Avenue Wholesalers.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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