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Shake-up of Waitrose's Australian range

Published:  13 May, 2016

Waitrose is overhauling its Australian wine category, replacing 45% of the current range.

Waitrose is overhauling its Australian wine category, replacing 45% of the current range.

Alexandra Mawson, wine buyer for Australia, New Zealand, USA and rosé, has orchestrated a complete range review, introducing 25 new wines to Australia's core shelf.

The range's new look was given its first airing at the Waitrose Cellar Tasting yesterday (May 12), where Mawson - who recently returned to the UK after working for four years in the Australian wine industry - said overhauling the category was a deliberate strategy she has been working up to since joining Waitrose.

She said: "When I returned form Australia I wasn't excited about what I saw on the shelves. Australia is the biggest shopped wine category in the UK and is still growing.

"The bigger brands have a great base in the UK and that's fantastic, but I wanted to introduce more originality and personality. There are so many amazing winemakers in Australia and I wanted to bring that onto Waitrose's core shelf."

To make their Australian wines stand out in a crowded marketplace, the range will have GI regionality on the bottles in order to help guide consumers.


But Mawson doesn't believe this will complicate matters for wine drinkers.

She said: "It's not about adding complexity to the bottles but taking customers on a journey. Australia has a really fun approach to winemaking and we have everything form the more traditional bottles to the more contemporary."

Most of the new wines are Chardonnay, with one Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

Waitrose is also launching its first rosé magnum at the end of May in time for the summer barbeque season.

And Waitrose Cellar is preparing to debut a dedicated "fizz shop", where customers will be able to order one bottle of sparkling wine rather than having to buy a case of six.

"It's not the most efficient way of delivering one bottle," Mawson added. "But it's a good way of reaching customers. A lot of people don't want to buy six bottles and a lot of other companies aren't prepared to allow customers to order just one."