Australian Wine on the comeback in the USA
Wine Australia USA sees market success with Australian regionality and diversity
We are at the beginning of a new chapter for Australian wine here in the US, one that is dedicated to Australia's diversity, regionality and quality.
Wine Australia is pleased to announce that Australia, the 2nd largest country of origin for imported wines into the US, is showing growth at higher price points and is seeing success with education and trade programs that showcase the country’s regionality and diversity. From positive market intelligence, to forward-thinking educational programs, to an energized effort toward trade promotions, Australian wine is well on the comeback trail in the North American market.
September 2011 Market intelligence show premium and regional Australian wines are on the rise. Australian wine sales in the US lifted in the higher price points; $15-19.99 is up 23% and $20+ is up 4.6%. Select varietals and blends are also showing growth in the US, namely Semillon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and blends (GSM, and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon).
Angela Slade, Regional Director North America for Wine Australia notes, “Australian wine statistics have made headlines on the negative figures, but I feel the most compelling story lies in the pockets of growth and the Australian premium comeback trend that is shaping up before our eyes.”
The Wine Australia Export Report MAT September 2011 shows that Australia is shipping more high-end wines for the 2nd consecutive quarter. The AUD$20 to $50 price segment has seen 60% growth and the over $50 price segment has seen 21% growth. Regionally specific bottle wines are seeing export growth by volume – particularly Margaret River up 26.7%, Barossa Valley up 25%, Clare up 20.9% and Coonawarra up 18.7%.
Trade Programs in the US are getting a new boost of attention. Geoff McFadzean, Market Development Manager for Canada helped craft success in Canadian retail with a large thematic with LCBO in 2011.Total net sales of Australian wines increased by 37.6% or $4.61M during the promotional period vs same time the year prior. An upcoming Quebec thematic with the SAQ is scheduled this May 2012, with similar sales success expectations.
With success under his belt, McFadzean's role expanded in October 2011 to include US Trade Programs and he has seen quick success. “It feels like US trade genuinely want to support Australia and are eager to hear about our program ideas. Just a month in to this new role and we have meetings lined-up with buyers and are working on a number of options for the 12/13 fiscal. Lots of positive response thus far.”
Grassroots education takes hold. Just under three years ago, when things were looking gloomy for the Australian category, Wine Australia created the Immersion Program as a grassroots education effort to counter the stereotypes the US trade and media were expressing about the Australian wine category. The goal was to go back to basics, canvas key US markets, open bottles and use education to build the confidence and interest primarily amongst the restaurant community.
“We have had a very positive response to our Immersion Program, now in its 3rd year. Many of the key trade had either forgotten about certain Australian wines or, as was more often the case, simply not been exposed to them. The more restrained and elegant wines are definitely turning some heads but it is the full range of Australian wine styles and crystal clear regional expression that has been most commented on. It is very satisfying to watch the collective light bulbs switch on” Mark Davidson, Market Development/Education Manager, Wine Australia.
As of August 2011, the numbers are proving that the program’s success has extended beyond its original education goals. To date, this program has touched 450 members of the trade, generated hundreds of listings, multiple restaurant events and promotions, and inspired staff support.
Moving into 2012, Wine Australia is rolling out a heightened outreach and visibility program for Australian wines in the US market. The program will commence in January with a series of consumer, trade, and social media activities.
Three exclusive events with Bottlenotes, ‘Around Australia in 80 Sips’ will lead the January consumer outreach in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Activities around Australia’s national holiday ‘Australia Day’ on January 26 are happening in cities around the US. A global online ‘Taste & Tweet’ is scheduled for January 26, using #AussieWine.
“We are at the beginning of a new chapter for Australian wine here in the US, one that is dedicated to showcasing Australia’s diversity, regionality and quality. It’s time for Australia to be more visible. It’s time for Australia to come back!” Angela Slade
About Wine Australia: Wine Australia is an Australian Government statutory authority established in 1981 to provide strategic support to the Australian wine sector. Its mission is: To enhance the operating environment for the benefit of the Australian wine industry by providing the leading role in: market development; knowledge development; compliance; and trade.Wine Australia is headquartered in Sydney, New South Wales and Adelaide, South Australia. The Market Development group is led by James Gosper, General Manager, Market Development (based in Sydney). Wine Australia has international offices in the USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, the UK, Ireland and Japan.
In the US market, Wine Australia is led by Regional Director, Angela Slade and provides a collaborative framework for the Australian wine category to secure maximum trade, press and consumer visibility. A team of seven industry professionals are dedicated to building confidence and increasing demand for Australian wines through extensive trade education, trade promotional programs, public relations, and events.