Friday, November 23rd, 2012 - The Tasting Bench
New online service helps wine lovers support Australia's small independent winemakers

While internet retailing has become the world’s bargain basement, the Tasting Bench has launched an innovative new online service that helps wine lovers find Australia’s ‘hidden gems’, with a focus on high quality rather than low prices.

This online service at helps wine appreciators find wines that are not mass-produced, from smaller wineries dotted around the country.  These independent, quality-driven wineries are often family owned and make up about 10% of the wine consumed in Australia.

After living and working in various Australian wine-growing regions over the past 15 years, Tasting Bench founder Michael van der Sommen saw the opportunity to give the general public access to these smaller, boutique wineries.

“Small independents don’t tend to have a wide distribution channel, sometimes they sell their wines only through their cellar doors, local restaurants and their own membership clubs,” Mr van der Sommen says.

“Yet there are many people genuinely interested in Australian wine who want try these quality products but have no way of discovering them.”

The Tasting Bench carefully hand selects four bottles to make up each of its packages, sending them direct to customers once a month. It offers a choice of four-bottle packages based on wine quality, starting with its ‘Viva Blanco’ package at $79 per shipment, to the ‘Iconic’ package offering premium wines at $205 per shipment.

Memberships are offered on a non-commitment basis, with customers able to join for as little as one month and cancel anytime, and the service can also be used for once-off gifts.

Scott Heidrich is one of the owners of McLaren Vale’s Rusty Mutt wines in South Australia.

"We produce just one wine, a shiraz, and make under 500 cases per year,” Mr Heidrich says.  “The Tasting Bench is an excellent way for our wine to be introduced to the type of drinker we want to connect with – those searching for small production, quality driven wineries. It’s great that the Tasting Bench is respecting the quality of our offering and isn’t a discount service, which is synonymous with most online retailers today,”

Each Tasting Bench wine delivery comes with tasting cards. The Tasting Bench also offers an interactive members-only website, where customers can rate wines, discuss their favourite wines with other members and learn more about each wine and winery. The Tasting Bench can be found at   

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Michael van der Sommen

P: 1300 665 047
M: 0448 241 172


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