Following China’s November announcement that Australian wine imports would be subject to a massive 200 per cent import tariff one winery decided it was time to target a different market altogether.
Unsurprisingly, demand for Australian wine in China became practically non-existent, a major blow for many Australian wine producers, but at Manor Estate in McLaren Vale, spirits remain buoyant.
The boutique winery relies on the export market, but instead of targeting China, it chose the US.
“In hindsight, it was an excellent decision,” said Peter Cap, founder of the winery.
“With China out of the equation for the foreseeable future, the top two export destinations for Australian wine are the US and the UK. Manor Estate focused on the US and export volumes continue to grow.”
When Manor Estate, which specialises in the production of naturally aged wines, developed a marketing strategy it decided to concentrate its marketing efforts on the US rather than trying to compete with a plethora of brands at home.
“Manor Estate signature wines are worthy of attention, but getting that attention at home would have meant setting the winery up to compete with household names,” said Peter.
The brand was more than export-ready. It was already exporting, albeit on a relatively small scale, when it achieved recognition from Wine Australia’s US market entry program.
The winery became one of only a handful selected to benefit from Wine Australia’s mentorship and network of US contacts.
Peter and daughter Sharleen, who now lives and works in New York as Manor Estate’s on-the-ground presence, say that their success was based on several factors.
First and foremost, the quality of their wine, and secondly, the ability to build and maintain relationships.
Choosing the US as the primary target for their marketing had unexpected benefits at home too.
“When people hear about Manor Estate taking New York by storm, they’re eager to taste the wines that made it happen,” said Peter.
“The wines deserve to stand out from the crowd, so they were marketed where they would have the best chance of doing just that. If Manor Estate could win over Manhattan’s top venues, its future in the US would be assured.”