ONE of Australian wine's great success stories is being blamed for ruining the reputation of the industry abroad.
The staggering success of Yellow Tail, the cheap bottle with the kangaroo on its label, has spawned a host of imitation brands in the US, flooding the bottom end of the market.
But the result is that Australian wine is now seen as "ubiquitous and vapid" in the minds of American drinkers, according to one of the world's most influential wine writers.
Jancis Robinson wrote in The Financial Times that the "Yellow Tail effect" was one of a few factors that caused exports to Britain and the US to drop by 17.5 per cent and 23 per cent last year - shrinking for the first time in 15 years.
Combined with a loss of interest in the big red wines promoted by the influential US wine critic Robert Parker and discounting duels in big British supermarkets, it has caused interest in Australian wine to evaporate "as rapidly as a puddle in Alice Springs", Ms Robinson wrote.
"Fashions in wine … come and go, but the speed with which Australia has moved from being revered to being reviled is quite remarkable."
Stephen Strachan, chief executive of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, said international marketing programs for quality Australian wine had been under way for 18 months but would take time to overcome the damage wrought by the "three bottles for £9" discount deals offered by British retailers.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.