Deep Planet

Deep Planet selects the Barossa for initial investment

Deep Planet continues to evolve the international grape and wine industry through remote sensing and AI technology, but you won’t find its Australian head office in a city high rise. Instead, this global start-up has selected the Barossa in regional South Australia for its initial investment in Australia, this month appointing four positions with plans to expand further.  Read more

Rosy future for wine sector

The Australian wine sector is projected to grow from A$11.3bn (US$7.9bn) in 2019 to A$12.7bn (US$8.7bn) in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4 per cent, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

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Winners of Women in Wine Awards announced

The winners of the 2020 Australian Women in Wine Awards have been announced via a live, celebration filled broadcast, which brought much-needed laughs this year too – thanks to the involvement of one Australia’s favourite comedians.

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Wineries band together to attract visitors

Three Victorian wineries are putting aside traditional rivalries to help each other recover from the coronavirus.
And they’re using award-winning wines and food, nature, and the relatively low profile of
the region as their biggest drawcards.
Tahbilk, Fowles, and Mitchelton — three, five-star rated wineries, located in the Strathbogie
Shire, approximately 90 minutes north of Melbourne — have been hit hard by border closures and Melbourne’s recent ‘ring of steel’, which separated regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne:
• The historic Tahbilk Winery is Victoria’s oldest winery situated on the banks of the Goulburn River. Once referred to by the first people as ‘tabilk-tabilk’ (or the ‘place of many waterholes’), Tahbilk is a carbon neutral winery nestled among river flats and kilometres of backwaters, creeks, and walking trails.
• Just up the road, also fronting Victoria’s longest river, is Mitchelton Wines, a mid-century architectural masterpiece, which has been recently updated to include the iconic Ashton Tower, overlooking the Goulburn River and ranges, award winning cellar door, 58 room hotel, restaurant, major events, and one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal art galleries.
• Fowles Wine is the relatively new kid on the block – a five-star winery and farm located in the small township of Avenel, a short drive from the other two wineries. Fowles has also invested in its future, opening a new cellar door and renovating its restaurant, drawing on inspiration from the quintessential Aussie shed and majestic views of the Strathbogie Ranges.
“Each winery is completely different. Yet, by coming together, we offer the chance for guests to experience the best of the Victorian wine industry in a day. This is a great opportunity for people who want real, authentic experiences,” according to Fowles Wine owner Matt Fowles.
Like most businesses in the region, Tahbilk, Fowles, and Mitchelton depend upon holiday makers and daytrippers using the Hume Highway, which completely dried up as a source of tourism in 2020. But now the renowned Shiraz and Riesling producers are fighting back, using the region’s natural hidden gems, and relatively low tourism profile, as part of a new campaign to secure their share of Victoria’s $10bn regional tourism market.
“Relatively little-known wine regions and townships, like nearby Nagambie and Avenel, now have a fighting chance to compete with better-known visitor destinations because of the virus,” Fowles said.
Tahbilk CEO Alister Purbrick said there were about 4.4 million people visiting and spending money in regional Victoria every month in 2019.
“That’s a lot of visitors, even before the pandemic begun, and that gives us a lot of heart to make a serious comeback from the ravage of this pandemic,” he said.
With Victoria’s regional tourism boom expected to go deep into next year, Mr Purbrick said it made sense for the three wineries to band together to offer an attractive alternative to the regular touristy spots.
“In the coming months, we expect to see a surge in visitors from Melbourne, within the region, and even interstate, looking for places to visit and explore, which are different, unexpected, and safe.
“People will still want to have a great food and wine experience in a beautiful regional setting. But, post-lockdown, they will also want to be able to stretch out, breathe, feel safe, and be totally free from the hassle of queues and crowds, which is exactly what we are offering,” Purbrick said.
Chief winemaker at Mitchelton, Andrew Santarossa, said the Take Nature’s Road Trip campaign exploited the fact the region is not always top-of-mind, or on the ‘map’, for most day-trippers.
“For us, this has become one of our greatest strengths as we don’t have the same crowds, or traffic problems, which other more frequented regional wine destinations are likely to encounter this coming summer.
“But what we do have is an amazing natural setting boasting some of Victoria’s best wineries and dining, wide-open spaces, the Goulburn River and Ranges, bush trails and billabongs, and friendly smiles,”  Santarossa said.

Australian wine company growing export sales

While many areas of Australia’s economy are struggling under the weight of COVID, one local business is pushing forward with export growth across Europe and Canada.
Headquartered in McLaren Vale, Leconfield Wines is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaking business. Owned by Dr Richard Hamilton and his wife, Jette, Hamilton is a fifth generation descendant of Richard Hamilton 1st who planted South Australia’s first wine producing vineyards in 1837. Leconfield Wines takes in Leconfield Wines in Coonawarra and Richard Hamilton Wines in McLaren Vale. Its brands include Leconfield, Richard Hamilton Wines and Syn Sparkling Wines.
Leconfield has a history of producing top-quality, award-winning wines. Its wines are sold across Australia, overseas and also served aboard Jetstar business class and on Great Southern Rail trains including The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland.
“COVID has been challenging for us. As winemakers that sell our products direct to consumers through our membership and into restaurants and other hospitality outlets across the country, sales have been hit through the closure of venues.  The latest lock down in Victoria is particularly challenging,” Hamilton said.
“We have also experienced mixed results overseas with some markets including China reducing spend.
“However in the face of this, we have also risen to the challenge. We have restructured to focus on building collaborative partnerships and foster growth in other overseas markets, and these strategies are already starting to yield great results.
“Damian White has been appointed to the newly created role of Sales and Marketing Director.  He is firmly focused on expansion of our international market, alongside our valued domestic and online platform partners.  Christine Says has been appointed to the role of CFO to help manage the complexities of our burgeoning overseas markets to ensure strong growth and firm cost control.
“The recent decision by Canada to remove tariffs on the import of Australian wines has also opened up new opportunities for us too.”
Leconfield has been approved for distribution and sale in three Canadian provinces:  Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.
“We are extremely excited about this and are looking to augment our presence to other provinces as well,” Hamilton added.
“In addition to Canada, we have secured new opportunities in Finland and Belgium. In Belgium, we have partnered with Belgian food retailer, Delhaize, to supply a private label Coonawarra Shiraz under the name of Dalebrook Farm. We are already in talks regarding line extensions. This opportunity and various other emerging ones are really proving very positive for us moving forward.
“Our senior winemaker, Paul Gordon is doing an excellent job of creating new and exciting wines from our vineyards. His ability to craft, blend and perfect is delivering superb results for us and really bolstering our ability to continually impress the market with wonderful wines.
“Kate Mooney, our marketing and events manager, who has been with us for nearly seven years, is hard at work refreshing and developing our labels and packaging to ensure we stand out on shelves, catalogues and online sites.
“Despite the challenges we are facing here at home, we are determined to achieve growth. We’ve been through droughts, the Spanish Flu, world wards, the great depression, recessions, the GFC and now COVID.  You could say ‘we are battle hardened’ and we are not about to let a virus dampen our prospects. We are all in this together, and certainly at Leconfield Wines, we are determined to get through to the other side.
“We are very lucky.  At the end of the day, we can sit back and relax with a good drop.  One of the benefits of winemaking.”

Calabria Family Wines takes over distibutorship of Canti

Calabria Family Wines has acquired the Australian distribution business of Italian prosecco brand, Canti.

The deal sees the family-owned winery take over the Australian import, sales, and marketing of the family-owned and operated Canti from Accolade Wines.

As a third-generation Italian-Australian wine business, Calabria Family Wines hopes to bring Canti’s distinct Italian flair and style to the booming prosecco market in Australia.

“This is our first shot into the distribution of wines outside of the Calabria Family Wines brand and we can’t think of a better business to be working with than Canti,” third-generation Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Calabria said.

“We’ve had great success in the category with our own branded products. We first planted prosecco in the Riverina in 2013 and were the first Australian winery to launch a prosecco spritz in the domestic market with our Bevi range. We have also been importing an Italian Prosecco DOC since 2011 under our Calabria Private Bin range.

“Welcoming Canti to the Calabria portfolio is a natural progression for us to grow our footprint in the category and gives us exciting opportunities to expand our network and customer relationships,” Calabria said.

Canti was first introduced in 2001 by founder Gianni Martini, the renowned second-generation wine entrepreneur of the Fratelli Martini Secondo Luigi spa – one of the largest Italian family-run winemakers founded in 1947. Canti was introduced in the UK market in 2002 and since then has grown its distribution to more than 50 countries.

In 2016, Canti was the best-selling prosecco brand in the world, selling around 12 million bottles. In 2017 it increased its sales to 20 million bottles.

“We see tremendous potential in partnering with the Calabria family in Australia. Like us, they are a multi-generational family business, with a rich Italian heritage. Their understanding of the market and the category gives us confidence that Canti will continue its global success as a leading prosecco label,” Canti’s Gianni Martini said.

“Canti is simply more than an Italian prosecco, it’s a celebration of the Italian spirit which Australians have come to love and appreciate through cuisine, travel and style. We look forward to a long and exciting partnership in this market with the Calabria family.”

Calabria Family Wines will initially focus on a core portfolio of the Canti Prosecco D.O.C. Millesimato 750ml and 200ml format and the brand’s new Canti Prosecco D.O.C. Bio Organic. Calabria Family Wines is looking to introduce more wines in the Canti range to Australia, including its Estate Barbera D’Asti and Estate Pinot Grigio.

“Canti currently has a strong on premise footprint in Australia, which we will continue to grow as we also look to expand the brand’s retail presence. Our goal is to open up the entire Canti portfolio in Australia as the wines are exceptional and reflect truly great Italian winemaking,” Calabria said.

St Hugo releases new collection

Producing wines since its first 1980 vintage, St Hugo’s Fine and Rare Collection is a series of back vintage Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon that has been released to showcase the longevity and complexity that is gained by these fine wines with extended cellaring.

Stored in monitored conditions at the St Hugo winery in the Barossa, these back vintage wines from 1998, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 have been hand selected after tasting and review by the chief winemaker, Peter Munro before consideration for re-release.

“The 1998 St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon is a mature wine from a vintage that is still displaying primary blackcurrant flavours twenty years on. While the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 are examples expressing the individual vintage conditions and will continue to develop further complexity over the coming decade,” said St Hugo chief winemaker Peter Munro.

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