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Wine Australia prepares for on-trade push

Published:  27 March, 2014

Wine Australia is getting ready to up the ante in the on-trade with "extraordinary" dinners in London as part of Tourism Australia's latest campaign.

Yvonne May, European director of Wine Australia, said it is lining up a host of "extraordinary dinners" in London for the initiative's September launch, as well as working with chefs including John Torode and the lifestyle press.

Speaking to at ProWein in Dusseldorf earlier this week, May said: "The idea is not kangaroo fillet or 'chuck another shrimp on the barbie', but an Australian approach to living and food which is fresh, tasty and informal. It's about bringing a host of flavours together and it marries perfectly with the wine message."

While the campaign is generated by Tourism Australia, Wine Australia will be feeding in intelligence, running wine activity around the core events and offering spin-offs to the wine market. May believes the on-trade will benefit from using the campaign's creative for promotional activity in-outlet.  

Trade and media visits are "undoubtedly the single best experience - it really does help" to broaden the mind towards Australian wine, she said. Recent visits from top sommeliers from across the world have had a "huge halo effect", she said.

May said Isa Bal, head sommelier at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant, told her that he can hand-sell Australian wine to customers, but if not the default position is European.

"We've got to get people to see Australia in a new light," she urged.

Australian wine has an average price of £5.72, and is showing most growth at above £8, May said, quoting the latest Nielsen MAT figures.

"What we've done is walk away from the commodity end. That will continue to be the case. The [large] Spanish harvest means they will fill that need and we don't have to."