Australian wine companies look to major international events to further boost exports

By / 17th of March, 2017
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MORE than 100 Australian wineries will head to some of the world’s biggest industry events in the coming weeks in a bid to further boost surging exports.

The Wine Australia exhibit at ProWein 2017 from March 19 to 21 in Germany will feature 500 wines from 76 wineries across 39 varieties and 34 Australian regions, including the premier regions of South Australia.

The Dusseldorf event is considered one of the world’s most important international wine fairs and will include more than 6300 exhibitors from 60 nations.

Wine Australia has developed a full program of events to showcase the diversity of Australian wine and challenge visitors’ perceptions of the nation’s offerings. The program consists of feature tastings, regional tastings, master classes, a food and wine matching session and happy hours with drinks and canapés.

ProWein comes at a time when Australia – the world’s fifth largest wine producing nation in 2016 – is experiencing a strong run of export success on international markets, particularly for premium wine in North America and China.

In the 12 months to December 2016, the value of Australian wine exports grew by 7 per cent to $2.22 billion and volume increased by 1 per cent to 750 million litres. The average value of exports grew by 6 per cent to $2.96 per litre, the highest level since 2009 driven by a 10 per cent growth in bottled exports, mostly at higher price points.

Much of this premium wine comes from the South Australian regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale, and South Australian wineries attending ProWein include d’Arenberg, Elderton, Fox Creek, Langmeil.

South Australia is consistently responsible for 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production including about 75 per cent of its premium wine.

The Barossa Valley produces world-renowned brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass while McLaren Vale is the birthplace of Hardys.

Another McLaren Vale producer Paxton Wines has become a regular exhibitor at ProWein in recent years and will again be part of the Wine Australia stall.

The winery exports about 30 per cent of its 25,000 case a year production to countries in Asia, Europe and North America but aims to increase international sales to 50 per cent of production in the coming years.

Operations manager Ben Paxton said ProWein was an opportunity to break into new markets but also to meet with existing international customers.

“Obviously all the European markets are there but also buyers from all around the world,” he said.

“People really are impressed with the quality of Australian wine and hopefully it’s coming back.”

More than 20 Australian wine companies representing 50 brands will also have a strong presence at the China Food & Drinks Fair in Chengdu from 23 to 25 March. The event provides an important opportunity for exhibitors looking for trade partners in the market across China.

A further six Australian wine companies will exhibit at Vinitaly in Verona from April 9-12. The mainly boutique producers will be part of an exhibit in the international hall organised by South Australian wine marketing company Winestate Publishing in conjunction with the South Australian and Northern Territory tourism commissions.

It will be the eighth year Winestate has taken wine companies to Vinitaly, which attracts more than 150,000 visitors and commercial buyers from the world’s largest customer bases including Europe, Asia, Russia, and North America.