Same Old, Same Old?

Friday, July 16, 2021

Recently I read a market bulletin from Wine Australia (see link below) which said that after “reviewing” the markets, the greatest opportunities for Australian wine (where they will be investing our funds) will be:

►USA

►Canada

►UK

►European Nordic countries.

They went on to say:

Within the Asian region, Wine Australia will also be working closely with Austrade through the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative (ABEI) to grow opportunities in a number of emerging markets, primarily:

-the ASEAN markets of South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, and

-Japan.

Market Bulletin Link:  www.wineaustralia.com/news/market-bulletin/issue-241

To me that sounds very much like “same old, same old”, keep on pumping money into the established markets and try to “grow opportunities in a number of emerging markets”, i.e. a short term fix.

I can well remember when China was “an emerging market” that warranted no or little effort and look how that developed until the recent disaster? Who back in the early years of this century would have predicted that we would become the No.1 imported wine into China, beating the French?

So, why not have a concerted and sustained push into some of the “emerging” markets to see what we can achieve.

How about a big push in Japan where Chile (after signing their FTA five years quicker than what we did) went from being No.5 imported wine to No.1 ousting the French. We should be doing much, much better there than being either No.4 or No.5 and losing market share.

We have been “growing opportunities” in these Asian markets for years, so how about a concerted effort/push to make things happen, in markets like Vietnam, which are going through a mini “China economic boom”.

We should also be pushing harder to grow our exports to Korea and Taiwan as they have got reasonably developed wine markets. Also, maybe even Indonesia where there are several million non-Muslins and expats living. Georgian wines had a successful push into Indonesia a few years ago by involving the F&B managers of the major hotels and non-Muslim government people in a food and wine festival hosted in the Embassy, by the Ambassador.

Should we be casting the net further afield? Perhaps we should be putting some focus into countries like Brazil and some of the eastern European countries, who are broadening their wine drinking repertoire, such as Poland, which currently has the fastest growing per capita wine consumption in Europe.

There is no panacea/quick fix for the loss of China, but I believe that we need to make a serious concerted effort in non-traditional markets if we are going to recover a significant proportion of the sales that we have lost. It will take time and it will be painful but it will further diversity our exports and provide a degree of buffering against unexpected drops in sales in any one given market, as happened with China.

We see what happens when politicians focus solely on their three-year tenure, instead of on the long-run – we end up with lots of structural problems. We the Australian wine industry need to avoid doing this if we are going to survive and thrive in the longer term. Here we should be taking a lesson from China – always play the long game rather than opt for the short “fix it”.

So Wine Australia, how about putting much more effort into the emerging markets and letting the existing exporters do the heavy lifting in the emerged markets?

Cheers and remember to always #chooseaustralianwine and where possible drink #emergingvarieties

This Week's Wine Review:

This week it is all about a smashing event that I went to last Friday evening, the Cellar Door Fest Winter Edit, held indoors at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

It is not quite on the same grand scale as the annual, Cellar Door Fest, which is held each year in February with around 150 exhibitors, this is a smaller, cosier, winter version.  However, there was more than enough to see and try. As usual I focused mainly on the emerging variety wines, so I missed a few of the wineries who only produce “mainstream” wines – sorry guys!

Some of the highlight wines were:

The Cutting The Outlier Grenache 2020: Light to medium bodied. Bright, tight flavours with a hint of creaminess – will blossom with time.

The Cutting Shiraz 2019: As always an outstanding Barossa Shiraz with lovely colour and aroma, and a rich energetic palate – superb!

Paulmara Estate 2020 Mêlée 2020: A brilliant Sangiovese / Shiraz / Malbec blend with great depth of colour, elegant bouquet and lashings of flavour.

Paulmara Estate MARAnanga Shiraz 2020: Heady aromas of plums and herbs, a big, tight palate needing time for the fruit to evolve and for the tannins to subside – will be a classic in time.

Sixty Eight Roses Tempranillo 2020: What an elegant Tempranillo – oh, so classy and drinkable!

Hemera Estate Cabernet Franc 2018: Wow, what a delight! A great example of this superb emerging variety. Enjoy!

Dewey Station Graciano 2020: A great example of this Spanish emerging variety – great depth of colour, bright varietal aromas, a hint of fruit sweetness on the divine palate and beautifully balanced – a joy to drink!

Hart of the Barossa Mataro 2019: The gentle bouquet belies the rich, delightful palate with oodles of flavour and a long, lingering finish.

Eldredge Wines Sangiovese 2020: An interesting wine with a hint of watermelon on the bouquet and lashings of appealing flavours on the palate.

New Era Touriga 2020: Too young, give it a wee while and it will delight your senses as it evolves.

Genista Duck, Duck, Cat Grenache 2020: A lighter style Grenache but delightful and easy to enjoy – drink up!

Whistle Post Cabernet Franc 2017: Beautifully fragrant as Cab Franc should be, lovely spiciness – just needs a bit of time to soften off.

Other excellent wineries that were there whose wines I had recently tasted included:

919 Wines the Riverland’s Durif Meisters!

Bassham wines with their stunning array of emerging wines – see wine review in my blog 02/07/21.

Rusty Mutt – A class act, with scrumptious wines  

Z Wines – Cracking Barossa wines - see wine review in my blog 28/05/21.

►And the always awesome Atze’s Corner Wines – top Barossa wines.

This year the standout winery for me was the Barossa’s, Gumpara Wines – the Semillon and four different Shiraz wines were all truly outstanding. With their 2019 Victor’s Old Vine Shiraz not only being a big, uber rich, unctuous Barossa Shiraz but also probably the best value for money wine of the event.

This was an impressive event in these restricted days, with my only minor criticism (as in previous years) being that there were not enough spittoons. I reckon that I spent more time weaving through the crowd to and from the limited number of spittoons, than I did actually tasting wine. Other than that it was outstanding.

I would strongly urge South Australians to consider coming to the full blown Cellar Door Fest next February - it is brilliant! So, pencil it in your diary and keep an eye out for the announcement of the actual date.

Cheers, stay safe, and drink great Aussie wine. #chooseaustralianwine and where possible try #emergingvarieties.  

Winery & Website Links:

www.cellardoorfestival.com

www.the-cutting.com.au

www.paulmara.com.au

www.sixtyeightroses.com.au

www.hemeraestate.com.au

www.deweystationwines.com.au

www.hartofthebarossa.com.au

www.eldredge.com.au

www.neweravineyards.com.au

www.genistawines.com

www.whistlepost.com.au

www.919wines.com.au

www.basshamwines.com

www.rustymutt.com.au

www.zwine.com.au

www.atzes.com

www.gumparawines.net.au