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McGuigan: 'Aussie winemakers need to re-focus'

Published:  14 May, 2010

Australian winemaker Neil McGuigan has said producers in his native country have got to "fight back" and produce more elegant wines for the UK market.

Mr McGuigan, who is over from Australia for the London International Wine Fair, which starts at the ExCel on Tuesday, said his country had taken a hammering from its antipodean neighbour because of the success of New Zealand sauvingnon blanc.

Mr McGuigan, 51, who runs Australian Vintage, the company that owns McGuigan wines, told Harpers Wine & spirit: "Australia has to fight back, we have got to change our style and produce more elegant wines.

"We have got to continue to evolve our styles, embrace new varieties and give them an Australian twist.

"We went through the 1980s giving people wines with fruit character and made it simple to understand.

"What we have to do is get back to the early days and continue to supply wines that are in tune with the ever-changing tastes of the British consumer.

"I think we lost focus on the consumer. We were going so well, we knew what the British consumer wanted and we made it for 10 years.

"We just took it for granated that it was going to continue, we did not give enough focus to the market we were selling our wines to.

"It has never been easy to sell wine and make money in the Australian wine industry, but I think the best grapes from Australia are still to come - and that is so exciting."