SOUTH KOREA - Let's Take A Closer Look

Friday, October 1, 2021

Recently, Wine Australia issued a marketing bulletin, “A closer look at Australia’s wine exports to South Korea – Issue 244”,  on imported wines in South Korea (refer to article link below), which shows Australia in 6th spot on the ladder. They announced that South Korea has risen from 15th spot in our export market to 10th spot in the last 12 months.

This seems all well and good until one compares our performance with that of Chile, who currently have 28% of the market as against our 6%. Good on them – yes, but bad on us. When our Federal Government started negotiating our FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with them we were 6th imported wine at just 2% behind Chile who had 8% of the market. The difference being that we took a lot longer to negotiate our FTA and by then Chile had taken off like a scalded cat, and their wines began appearing everywhere.

Australia then did nothing special and simply relied on the FTA to grow sales, which worked so well that we are still 6th on the ladder – just like we were back in 2007!!  In most markets we compete in we are usually in the top three imported wines, but not here, nor in Japan – Do we have a problem?

Also, unlike in other markets where we are competing against the French, here we can’t use the “premium” excuse, because unlike the French wines which are generally regarded as being more premium than ours, in this case if anything, Chilean wines are considered slightly more commercial than our wines, with a lesser number of super premium wines/labels than what we have. So what’s our excuse other than we took our eyes off the ball in favour of the easier, glossier, shinier China market.

Our FTA came into effect in late 2014, and looking at the wine import chart, it would appear that our sales growth curve has been not much better or greater than anybody else’s. That is, that most of our increase in sales can be attributed to the growth in the South Korean market rather than from us taking market share from other competitors – like Chile did. Thus in six and a half years since the FTA kicked in we have basically done no better than any of the opposition.

The South Korean imported wine market is currently worth around US$1billion a year and growing by around 3% a year, which equates to around US$30million in additional sales each year. So what is our grand master plan to rest more than our fair share of this increase, let alone increasing our overall share? There are Wine Australia plans for expanding our sales into traditional markets such as the USA and UK, but I have yet to see any dynamic or comprehensive plan for South Korea, currently our 10th largest export market.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Australia was the most dynamic wine marketing exporter on the planet, and we kicked some serious arse! Going from zero to hero (top 3 in many if not most markets) in a very short space of time.

So far this century (other than in China) we have become the same fat, middle-aged marketing “ad men” that most of the European countries are/have been. So that more recently Chile and New Zealand have taken over our dynamic role and they are kicking serious arse!!

So are we going to remain as the fuddy-duddy, stuff-shirt marketers, or are we going to get off our arses and become dynamic again? If so, South Korea would be a bloody good place to start.

Come on Wine Australia and the wine industry, come up with a real rocking plan to woo the Koreans towards our wines instead of the Chileans, French, Italians, Spanish and USA. C’MON AUSSIE C’MON!!

I hope you have a great week remember to #chooseaustralianwine and where possible try #emergingvarieties   Cheers!

Article Link: www.wineaustralia.com/news/market-bulletin/issue-244

This Week's Wine Review:

Normally I review wines for their sheer quality, but today is a bit different. Today, I am reviewing really good quality, commercial wines that are creatively and environmentally packaged.

I am talking about the exciting and uber practical, TRENTHAM ESTATE ‘THREE’S-A-CROWD’ 1.5 LITRE wine pouch.

So instead of lugging two bottles of wine to a BBQ, picnic or other function, one can now simply turn up with a wine pouch – which whilst holding two bottles of wine weighs around the same or slightly more than a single bottle, making it lighter and easier to handle. This packaging is sturdy, easy to hold/grip and fully recyclable. It is also easy to unsecure the tap so as to open it. Added to which, unlike in a bottle, the wine lasts for several weeks once the tap of the pouch has been opened.

Basically, all the convenience of a wine cask without the same degree of bulkiness. A great and practical innovation.

At present the range consists of a PINOT GRIGIO and a PINOT NOIR, but I am sure there will be range extensions in the very near future.

So now to the wines:

TRENTHAM THREE’S-A-CROWD PINOT GRIGIO – This wine has gentle aromas of citrus, a dash of sweetness on the front palate leading to lashings of attractive flavours and a soft, refreshing finish which makes it a brilliant wine for all sorts of social occasions, where you want to enjoy a glass of wine without any peregrinations about its provenance, etc.

TRENTHAM THREE’S-A-CROWD PINOT NOIR – The colour of this wine is light like a very deep rose, with gentle red berry aromas and a hint of green apples. The palate is light but tasty with an elegant finish, making it very easy to drink, i.e. Job done!!

These ever so practical pouches filled with really good quality, commercial wine are part of the wine drinking future, as wine drinking moves from the boardroom and dining table towards more social environments like the beach, the sports oval, etc.

So the future for a goodly part of wine consumption will be these pouches, along with (as I have espoused before) wine in cans, possibly even paper bottles (in the future), as well as the ever so practical, Garçon elliptical plastic bottles (which are already in use in the UK).

Start thinking outside the square, as TRENTHAM ESTATE have done and have a crack at “emerging” wine packaging which is way more practical than the ancient old glass bottle.

Congratulations TRENTHAM ESTATE for being innovative/ahead of the curve and delivering good quality wine in your pouches. This will be a winner with the younger (more mobile) wine crowd. Cheers!

Winery Link: www.trenthamestate.com.au