Australian wine took centre stage in mid-November with a record-breaking presence at ProWine China 2018 – an international trade fair for wine and spirits.
Wine Australia’s largest-ever pavilion showcased Australia’s booming wine sector at the event, based in Shanghai.
A record 47 exhibitors showcased 90 wine brands – compared to 40 brands in 2017 – from more than 20 wine regions across Australia, including Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Beechworth, Clare Valley and Yarra Valley.
Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said China is such a critical market so it was great to see the pavilion jam-packed with Chinese wine trade, hearing the stories of wineries and learning about the diversity of styles available.
“Thanks to the [Australian government’s] $50m [wine] package, we were able to hit the trade show en masse and give wineries the opportunity to bolster relationships with existing clients or connect with prospective partners face-to-face – be they importers, distributors, wine merchants or food and beverage managers.
“Between the 47 exhibitors, 6 in-pavilion tastings, 2 master classes and a seminar on cutting-edge wine business technology, the “Australian Wine Made Our Way” themed pavilion was bustling with activity,” said Clark.
In-pavilion tasting classes inlcuded:
- the next wave of Shiraz from Victoria – including Heathcote, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Grampians and Pyrenees
- Margaret River’s emergence as a world-class region for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon
- alternative varieties – exploring the diversity of McLaren Vale wines
- a tasting journey exploring the Barossa’s diverse palette of varieties, flavours and textures
The public master classes showcased rare and distinguished Barossa varieties, blends, estates, single vineyards and flagship releases; and the history and tradition of premium McLaren Vale Shiraz.
Exhibitor Damian Shaw, managing director of Philip Shaw Wines in Orange, said there is a good strength of Australians representing in this market.
Helen McCarthy, from Mountadam Vineyards in Eden Valley, said relationships are really important, especially in the China market where they’re key to doing business.
“It’s important for us to come and support our importer in building those relationships.
“In some of the tastings I’ve done external to ProWine, it’s been quite a generational change. A lot of younger excited people are learning about wine. It’s just so different to 10 years ago,” said McCarthy.
China has become Australia’s biggest and most valuable wine export market. Exports, including Hong Kong and Macau, soared 55 per cent to more than $800 million in the past 12 months, accounting for 40 per cent of Australia’s total exports, Wine Australia indicates.