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Austria attacks mid-market

Published:  23 July, 2008

Having successfully targeted the high-end on-trade, Austrian producers and their UK agents are increasingly looking to sell greater volumes of wine at mid-market price levels.
Wines designed to be sold at between 5.99 and 9.99 were in abundance at last week's generic Austrian tasting, with the launch of a number of new brands created with the UK consumer in mind.

Both London-based Bibendum and Hampshire-based Thierry's debuted new agencies - the first time either company has listed an Austrian wine - with Laurenz V joining the former and Weingut Huber the latter.

Susanne Staggl, PR and marketing manager at the Austrian wine-marketing board, believes Austria can compete lower down the price ladder than it does at present. The on-trade has been our focus and we have been successful at that,' she said. Sales have doubled in the past five years, although we are still only exporting 130,000 litres to the UK. We can't compete at 4 a bottle, but at 6.99 or even 5.99 there is definitely room for us to grow here.'

The last year has seen Austria gain listings in Majestic, Waitrose and Oddbins - the first time Austrian wines have had large-scale distribution in the UK since the 1970s. Thierry's hopes to capitalise on this renewed interest in Austrian wine with the launch of Green Grape, a 5.99 2005 Grner Veltliner (GV) aimed at the grocers and high-street operators. It's a new concept, and we are concentrating on just the one wine for now, although we will also be offering the standard Huber range to independents and the on-trade,' said Grant Page, account manager at Thierry's.

Bibendum will be offering three wines from Laurenz V: Charming, Friendly and Singing (all GVs from the 2005 vintage). Nicola Burston, UK spokesperson for Laurenz V said: The idea is to put some fun into the Austrian category. The Singing GV will be aimed at the off-trade and should be available at around 6.99. Friendly [RRP 8.49] and Charming [RRP 13.49] are more on-trade focused.'