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Australian producer loses £675k of wine in forklift blunder

Published:  25 July, 2011

An Australian winery has lost a third of its production after a forklift dropped 462 cases of its wine.


Paul Schaafsma, European Sales and Marketing Director of Australian Vintage

Published:  07 July, 2011

McGuigan is the fastest growing global wine brand in the UK top 20 despite a 9% increase in its shelf price. McGuigan has experiencing 62% sales growth in the past 12 months with its sales now topping £65M. How?

Simple. Listen, don't dictate and get your head out of the sand.

here is no question that the UK is challenging market but it also fluid, dynamic and full of opportunity. The key to building a successful brand is to listen to the market - adapt your strategy and innovate to ensure you are delivering wines that are relevant and appropriate. Continually sense check your wine style, varieties and packaging to ensure your brand has the edge, and is delivering what retailers and consumers what now, not yesterday or 12 months ago.

As a supplier you need to be culturally appropriate, flexible in your approach, quick to respond and be a 'user-friendly' distributor who will listen, take on board feedback and not dictate terms. Brand owners with the attitude of 'my brand is king, this is what it is, it is a must stock and by the way, I'm increasing my price' will see sales decline and their brand become irrelevant.

Our retail partners are just that, partners. We share a common goal to deliver quality, value and consumer appropriate products across all price points.

You must ensure your brand is relevant to the consumers who buy it.

Ignore market trends at your peril. This is not a case of one-size fits all - the UK market is unique and complex, and as such you must be flexible, listen and willing to change.

The lifecycle of Australian wine in the UK is such that the market is looking for what is new from Australia, what is different and how we've evolved our wine styles to remain relevant and appropriate. Australia is a key category to every retailer - the challenge is to not rest on our laurels and continue to evolve, innovate and make wines that retailers want to list, and consumers want to drink. Quality and value for money across key price points is of utmost importance and more often than not the market looks to Australia to take the lead.

Wine is a trend, and constantly evolving - as a brand owner you must be at the forefront of these trends to ensure your brand remains relevant to the UK market otherwise you're dead in the water.

Paul Schaafsma is European sales and marketing director of Australian Vintage


Sterling makes gains against Australian dollar

Published:  05 July, 2011

Yesterday's currency markets shows sterling strengthened slightly against the euro and US dollar, with its biggest move against the Australian dollar which slipped following poor figures.


Bumper harvest for Australia

Published:  15 June, 2011

The Australian harvest is estimated to be up 1% on last year, reducing hopes that the country can overcome its major oversupply problems.


ETM Group opens Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

Published:  10 June, 2011

London gastropub operators Tom and Ed Martin have opened their latest venue in the city, Chiswell Street Dining Rooms.


UK first for Penfolds fortified wine

Published:  26 May, 2011

Penfolds is bringing its collection of fortified wines to the UK for the first time.


Video: Australia needs to make its wines more fun

Published:  23 May, 2011

Buyers, winemakers, marketers and generic bodies are in agreement that Australian wines need to bring the fun back to the category, as well as making it easier for customers to make choices.


Fine Aussie wines applauded in 100 Best list

Published:  19 May, 2011

This year's 100 Best Australian Wines includes 12 producers who have been included in every single list since its inception in 2004.


Online wine firms encouraged to flout rules

Published:  16 May, 2011

'There are no rules online - that's the beauty of it,' say wine business owners who are finding new ways of working the digital marketplace.



Foster's splits beer and wine operations

Published:  29 April, 2011

Foster's shareholders have approved the demerger of the Australian company's wine and beer businesses.


De Bortoli Wines moves to new UK offices

Published:  08 March, 2011

De Bortoli Wines is relocating its UK sales office from Blandford Forum in Dorset to Semley in Wiltshire.


'UK still challenging' - Australian Vintage

Published:  07 February, 2011

McGuigan wine firm Australian Vintage has warned that it still faces challenging times ahead in the UK market despite a surge in volumes and profits for the business as a whole.


Treasury pulls support from Wine Australia

Published:  31 January, 2011

Treasury Wine Estates has withdrawn its support from Wine Australia in the UK ? saying the body does not do enough to "promote and represent our total portfolio of brands".


Geoffrey Dean Ashes and wine blog: soaring temperatures add to Victorian winemakers' troubles

Published:  31 December, 2010

Despite the wettest December in Victoria since records began - and that after a similarly damp November - there were widespread fire bans across the state on a roasting New Year's Eve when temperatures hit 42C in Melbourne.


Geoffrey Dean: Ashes and wine blog reports on impact of rain to 2011 vintage

Published:  10 December, 2010

This has been a good week to be an Englishman in Australia following England's crushing victory in the second Test.


Geoffrey Dean: our man Down Under's Ashes and wine blog, Adelaide

Published:  06 December, 2010

The Adelaide Test has always been my favourite in an Ashes series Down Under. It's not just because the Oval is the most attractive in the country - with its cathedral, scores of trees and stylish stands including a brand new Western Grandstand that cost £50m - but because the whole occasion is the most social of the Australian cricketing calendar.


Geoffrey Dean: our man Down Under's Ashes and wine blog, Adelaide

Published:  06 December, 2010

The Adelaide Test has always been my favourite in an Ashes series Down Under. It's not just because the Oval is the most attractive in the country - with its cathedral, scores of trees and stylish stands including a brand new Western Grandstand that cost £50m - but because the whole occasion is the most social of the Australian cricketing calendar.


#winedealfriday gathers momentum

Published:  26 November, 2010

More bid speculation for Foster's wine interests

Published:  21 September, 2010

Rumours are circulating about another bid for Treasury Wine Estates, the wine division of Foster's.


Andrew Catchpole's final Regional Heroes blog from Australia

Published:  23 August, 2010

From the Hills to Clare Valley, where a cracking turn out of winemakers reinforces one of the best masterclass tastings of the trip, fronted by the region's lime-slaked, bone dry signature style of Riesling.


Dave and Diane Palmer of Skillogallee, Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset and Stephanie Toole of Mount Horrocks were just a few of the dozen leading Clare winemakers who joined us for a tasting lunch following a serious crack at Clare sub-regionality under the guidance of Kilikanoon's Kevin Mitchell.


Flights of the superb 02 and '09 Riesling were shown blind, followed by a bracket of iconic Clare Shiraz (think Jim Barry's 'The Armagh' and Tim Adams 'Aberfeldy'), before launching into a lunch which then opened the field on Clare's myriad styles, including plush Cabernet-driven wines epitomised by Grosset's seamless Gaia and Mount Horrrock's seductive Semillon.


It was the Rieslings, though, that really pinpointed the character of Clare, as we traced a progression from warmer, fleshier Auburn in the lower Valley via the well-structured complexities of Watervale and Sevenhill to the tightly knit, mineral charged wines of Polish Hill. '02's, especially from sub-regions showing more minerally, tighter character in youth, also impressed upon our group how well Clare Riesling can age.


After such a whirlwind tour of cool and cooler climate regions it was intriguing to contemplate how Barossa, king of the blockbuster Shiraz, would show after such a run of aromatic Rieslings, fresh and restrained Chardonnays, vibrant Pinot Noirs, cooler region savoury Shiraz/Syrahs a host of other up-and-coming varieties including Rhone whites, Italians (Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Nero d'Avola, Fiano and Arneis, among others), plus the odd dollop of good-looking Tempranillo.


It was pretty simple and quite a coup. The Barossa boys and girls pulled out their Old Vine Charter and soaked our palates with flights of Old Vine (35+ years of age), Barossa Survivor Vine (70+), Barossa Centenarian Vine (100+) and Barossa Ancester Vine (125+). These old vines are - no cliché here - a national treasure and given the extraordinary combination of balance, harmony and concentration that overwhelmingly informed this superb flight of 12 Barossa classics, it seems churlish to single out any single wines. However, an '07 Cirillo Estate Vineyard Grenache, from 1850 plantings, and a 164 year old '05 Schild Estate Moorooroo Shiraz deserve special mention.


The final stages of this Regional Heroes trip played out in the Barossa and its more elevated sister region Eden with visits to a trio of wineries, all very different and all thoroughly enjoyable, not least for their more intimate tours and tastings after so many masterclasses in so many and such contrasting regions. It was a good reminder of something that Australia does well - namely approachable and down to earth winemakers. Stephen Henschke of Henschke, Louisa Rose at Yalumba and Christie Schulz at Turkey Flat all proved generous with both their time and their wines, including some exciting barrel and tank work where we again looked at some very promising 2010 wines in the making.


After 300+ wines, nine regions, a wealth of masterclasses, innumerable visits, the chance to look at a wealth of 'new wave' varieties and style coming on line, along with the emerging and established classic Australian styles, and what could generally be described as a pretty full-on immersion in the current wine scene Down Under, the Regional Heroes delegates - Rachael, Robert and Matt - agreed that they had only scratched the surface in terms what Australia offers. But the depth and diversity of that offer was clearly apparent. All in all a great trip and some superb wines.