By Stephen Pannell – founder of SC Pannell wines and 2015 Australian Winemaker of the Year

Do we need to know a lot about wine to enjoy it?

When we listen to a song, we either enjoy it, or we don’t. It’s as simple as that. I think there’s so much bullshit we need to get rid of in the wine industry.

Today we see cooking shows on every channel; people talking about food, preparing it, judging it and eating it. But you see very few shows about wine because there’s too much tradition and so many “rules” – and it needs to be shaken up.

In reality, wine is just grapes that have gone off. We drink it and it makes us happy. Wine is important, but as a food, not a status symbol.

It’s really very simple to find a wine that you like. We all have a musical taste, and we don’t put other people off with our individual style… well, unless your taste is really, really bad. Our preferences are what make us unique and individual – it’s an expression of who we are.

So why is it not the same with wine? Why is there so much emphasis on how much it costs or how many points it has received from leading wine critics?

It’s upsetting for me because this is when wine stops being about how it tastes. It’s no longer a simple question of “Do I like it?” Let’s give wine the benefit of the doubt.

In all art forms the boundaries are pushed. In wine we haven’t really invented anything new, other than a screw cap, which is still causing debate and uproar. We try to make wines that reflect where we live and what we eat.

That’s the essence of Single Sites Dinner [held as part of Tasting Australia]. It’s a celebration of place, of creating something unique, of matching flavours and letting wine be both the hero and a key ingredient to an incredible meal.

Of course, the concept of value is very important too. One of the things that could be making SC Pannell so successful is that we make good, affordable, quality dependent wines. We like to take people out of their comfort zones by offering Mediterranean styles such as Tempranillo Touriga.

I believe in people trusting their taste. Because wine is all about how it tastes. Right to the last drop.