Export grants help South Australian wines go global

Wine companies have taken advantage of the latest round of South Australian export grants to solidify their sales across the globe.

More than a dozen South Australian wine companies were among the businesses to use the South Australian Export Accelerator (SAEA) program to help them market and sell their products overseas.

Through the program, businesses shared in more than $544,000, which allowed recipients to participate in international trade shows and business missions, produce marketing collateral, conduct market research, ecommerce development and undertake export training and consultation.

The 27 recipients covered a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, IT and life sciences, but it was South Australia’s wine industry that won the majority of funding.

South Australia is a major wine exporter and is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s total annual production and about 75 per cent of its premium wine.

According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, Australia was the world’s fifth largest wine-producing nation in 2017 behind Italy, France, Spain and the United States.

Among the wine companies to receive a grant were Bull and Bull, Alliance Wine Australia, Elderton Wines, Penley Estate, Massena and Portia Valley Wines.

Bull and Bull owner Rob Turnbull said the funding allowed the company to cement their relationship with partners in China.

“Australia is our largest total sales market but certainly China as an export market is our number one for value and volume,” he said.

“The Chinese market is so mature now. It used to be that you find a distributor and they buy truckloads of your stuff and you’re happy. Now you really have to be very clever in which segments you pick and how you go to market with those segments.”

Turnbull founded Bull and Bull almost three years ago with a mind to exporting wines from regions such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra.

He said differentiating Bull and Bull as a legitimate player in the Chinese market had been his greatest hurdle.

But Turnbull was tackling this challenge by trying to develop a long-term customer base in China through meetings and clever marketing.

“We’re not looking at high volume, we’re looking at high value across China. We’re not looking for one distributor. It really is a mishmash of different customers and different channels.”

While Bull and Bull were looking to further establish themselves in Asia, Penley Estate finance and distribution manager Kathryn Shaw said the McLaren Vale-based business had used the opportunity to continue expanding their overseas distribution.

Penley Estate exports wines to 17 countries and would like to add Japan and India to the list.

“We’re strategically trying to shift our strategy from 60 per cent domestic and 40 per cent export to 60 export and 40 per cent domestic,” Shaw said.

In a bid to increase overseas sales, in 2016 Penley Estate appointed new winemaker Kate Goodman. The business also rebranded.

Subsequently, Goodman was named Winemaker of the Year at the Australian Women in Wine Awards and Penley Estate doubled its wine sales.

Applications for the next round of SAEA open on Monday (July 1, 2019).

Oldest city vineyard defies urban squeeze to produce top drop

A city-based winery in South Australia has renewed its agreement to produce wine from the world’s oldest commercial urban vineyard.

Planted in 1907, the 1-hectare Marion Vineyard is surrounded by housing and a public swimming pool in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, a city of 1.4 million people.

But its grapes are not feeling the squeeze of city living with the past four vintages of the Patritti Marion Vineyard Grenache Shiraz awarded 96 of a possible 100 points by Australia’s leading wine critic James Halliday.

Established in 1926, Patritti Wines is the last remaining family-owned suburban winery in Adelaide. It is about 4km south of the council-owned Marion Vineyard, which it has managed since 2006.

The vineyard produces around 3000 bottles of the grenache shiraz blend each year. About 1000 litres of fortified wine has also been produced from fruit grown on the block each year since 2006 but this is unlikely to be released until it has been aged for 15 years and reaches ‘rare’ status.

“We’ve been very fortunate to work with a council that’s committed keeping the site and understanding its heritage value but it’s a labour of love,” says Patritti’s managing director Ines Patritti.

“We’re delighted to be part of its journey and it’s also lovely to see how the community has come on board with it – they are very much the vineyard protectors and they let us know when people are in there for any reason.

Since managing the vineyard, Patritti’s winemakers, James Mungall and Ben Heide have passionately worked with projects manager Matthew Mungall to reinvigorate old grenache and shiraz vines, improving the quality of fruit they produce.

The Marion Vineyard is one of only a few commercial urban vineyards left in the world and is claimed to be the oldest as South Australia was one of the few wine producing areas not to be affected by the global phylloxera outbreak that ravaged vineyards around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Patritti recently won the tender to manage the vineyard for another five years.

Under this latest agreement, viticulturists from its two McLaren Vale vineyards will also take on the management of two other local vineyards on land owned by the City of Marion. The first is about 0.6ha (1.5 acres) behind the Oaklands Wetland and is planted with bush vine Muscat grapes while the second vineyard is in an area known as Laffer’s Triangle and contains about 0.4ha (1 acre) of Pedro Ximenez and Doradillo vines.

Marion Council has committed to connecting each of the vineyard sites to irrigation, ensuring the longevity of the vines and their continued productivity during low rainfall seasons. Patritti will perform a significant rejuvenation project at each site, reinvigorating underperforming vines, planting cutting material to replace dead vines and improve the aesthetic appearance of the vineyards.

Each vineyard will remain open to the public, with the fruit for Patritti’s exclusive use.

Ms Patritti says the goal is to produce a single vineyard product from each of the vineyards when volumes and quality allow.

It’s a passion – I’m very keen on the history of the area and a lot of young people don’t realise how much the area has changed.

“When I was growing up this area was dairy farms, vineyards and almond orchards.

“People ask ‘why would you build a winery here?’ because they don’t understand that when we first started the area was surrounded by vineyards.”

The Marion area is about 12km south of the centre of Adelaide and 10km north of Reynella, where John Reynell produced one of Australia’s first wine vintages in 1842.

Many of the vineyards in the Marion area originally produced table grapes. However, much of the wine producing blocks, including the Marion Vineyard, were owned by Frank Hamilton as part of the early vine planting’s of the then FE Hamilton & Sons Winery & Distillery.

The Hamilton family sold their vineyards in the area from the 1950s through to the 1970s to make way for suburban sprawl.

Descendants of Frank Hamilton are still involved in the South Australian wine industry including Richard Hamilton of Leconfield Wines, which managed the Marion Vineyard for the City of Marion from the early 1990s until 2005.

According to the Organisation of Vine and Wine, Australia was the world’s fifth largest wine-producing nation in 2016 behind Italy, France, Spain and the United States.

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

Organic wine sales increasing

Organic Old World wines are the most imported in domestic markets with New World wines lagging considerably far behind, according to the latest market report.

Vinexpo Bordeaux’s organic wine exhibition-within-an-exhibition reflects consumers’ growing interest in organic wine, with a 25 per cent increase in exhibitors over 2017’s show.

Around 150 exhibitors representing 10 countries as diverse as Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Greece, Romania and Canada, as well as market leaders in organic wine production – Spain, Italy and France – will be at WOW! this year in Bordeaux.

Additionally, WOW!’s international offer of organic and biodynamic wines and spirits is complemented this year by a walk-around tasting of the leading organic/biodynamic wine producer association, ‘Renaissance des Appellations’, dedicated to ensuring the validity and integrity of organic/biodynamic wine producers’ products through stringent entry qualifications.

These include a legal guarantee of ‘best agriculture practice’ – an organic/biodynamic certificate being awarded once three years of best practice in biodynamic agriculture has been completed, accompanied by certifiable evidence. Renaissance des Appellations will have 60 biodynamic wine grower members participating in the event, with organic wines from France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Germany and Austria represented.

For the world picture, currently organic wine accounts for just 2.4 per cent of global consumption but is gaining strongly – worldwide, organic wine consumption is forecast to increase by 30m (9-ltr) cases to 2022, compared to an increase in growth of the total (non-organic) still wine market by 35m cases, forecast to 2022. Europe dominates the organic wine market with a 77 per cent share, expected to increase to 78 per cent also by 2022.

Vinexpo CEO, Rodolphe Lameyse commented, “Bio wine is unquestionably a commercial reality now and demand for the product keeps on growing. Everyone in the wine business – retailers, restaurant owners, sommeliers, wine merchants and importers – recognize this. WOW! is our response to meet exhibitors’ and visitors’ needs for the latest information on the best and latest products. It is a strong commitment we make with our exhibitors and to our visitors, which is why it has become such an integral part of the exhibition.”

Related to what WOW! represents – reflecting increasing consumer demand for environmental integrity in what they buy and consume in the food and drink market – the Vinexpo Symposium directly addresses increasing industry concern about the environment and the impact of climate change on global vineyards, vineyard management and winemaking, and the wine economy.

Opening a month earlier this year and running for four days from May 13 to May 16, Vinexpo Bordeaux 2019 is themed on the phrase Shape the Future to position itself as the international wine and spirits exhibition that understands the key concerns of all professionals in the wine and spirits industries.

Wine Australia launching new online strategy to support exports

Enhancing the perceptions of global wine consumers is the goal of new Australian wine website and other consumer-targeted activities from Wine Australia in 2019.

Wine Australia’s new “Australian Wine Made Our Way” brand platform will underpin investments, which are supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said these activities are part of a broader strategy to build perception of and demand for Australian wine and wine tourism among the wine trade and consumers in Australia’s largest and fastest-growing export markets.

“We are excited to showcase the people, places and processes that make Australian wines unique with wine consumers globally,” Clark said.

“Our targeted events, media and education campaigns – such as the recently launched Australian Wine Discovered education program – are amplifying positive sentiment, interest and excitement around the Australian wine category, and building trade and consumer demand for our wine and tourism offerings.”

Clark said Wine Australia was also increasing its presence on social media and e-commerce platforms globally to better speak with consumer audiences.

“In the past, our resources have been largely trade focused,” he said.

“The $50m package is allowing us to step up consumer engagement through digital media and connect with a larger audience.”

South Australia invests $3 million in wine tourism

The South Australian government has launched a $3 million wine tourism campaign designed to attract international visitors to the state’s wine regions and boost the industry.

At Coriole Vineyards in McLaren Vale today, SA premier Steven Marshall, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway announced the beginning of the “International Visitation Campaigns” in the Barossa, Clare Valley, Limestone Coast, Adelaide Hills, the Riverland and McLaren Vale.

The state Government has committed $750,000 towards the initiative with funding contributions also from Wine Australia, through the Commonwealth Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, local government, wine associations and communities.

Premier Marshall said the campaigns are a key pillar in attracting more visitation to South Australia’s wine regions and cellar doors.

“Today’s launch of the International Visitation Campaigns across six wine regions will build on the fantastic work this government is already doing to attract visitors to South Australia,” said Marshall.

“Our world-famous wine regions are an important part of the state’s economy and this campaign will allow them to continue to grow and create jobs for the state.”

Whetstone said the visitation campaigns are a collaborative effort to attract international visitors to South Australia’s wine regions, with a focus on China and the United States.

“Almost 40 per cent of international tourists visit a winery during their stay in South Australia and visitor expenditure supports growth in our regions,” said Whetstone.

“South Australia’s number one wine export destination is China and Hong Kong, with $813 million worth of wine exported in 2017-18, which shows where we can continue to add value to any activities targeted to these consumers.

“Six wine regions across South Australia are utilising the campaign in a number of innovative ways to attract international visitors, including a sommelier exchange, multi-lingual website, wine trail, virtual reality and online marketing.

“Our wine regions are continuing to be innovative and adapt to changing consumer needs targeting consumers looking for premium products.”

In the McLaren Vale, wine exports exceeded $100 million for the first time last year and McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager Jennifer Lynch said a targeted consumer marketing campaign will continue to build on that momentum.

“This investment and support will generate a notable step-change in our region’s continued international growth in key wine and tourism export markets, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to enjoy what we have to offer in McLaren Vale,” said Lynch.

US tech company partners with consulting firm to launch global wine app

My Wine Society has launched a social engagement platform dedicated to wine for vineyards, vendors and the global passionate wine community.

CEO of My Wine Society Sean Evans, and fellow industry entrepreneur Jeremy Wong have developed the app’s concept alongside Skylab apps. The app consists of building the aspect of communications, experience, and connection within its community. “Think [of its as like] Facebook for wine,” said Evans

Thanks to its partnership with Skylab Apps, it is the first wine app where the users can interact, share, explore, and be rewarded. “We were able to leverage a technology company that specialises in the science of engagement, to create a unique app platform that centers around creating the global wine community. With that we’re giving a place for wineries to uniquely communicate with their customers in a way that feels organic and complete, so they don’t lose touch with people,”  said Evans.

My Wine Society hosted their Beta launch event for the Napa Valley region — which marks the official opening of its first public testing round in partnership with conscious consumer outlet Feast it Forward, on July 14 at The Studio in Napa, California. They also launched in the LA/Temecula region in November as well as launching in the Mexico region following in early 2019.

Eliminating waste within the value stream

Behind every food and beverage product on the shelf is a supply chain journey that starts with ingredients. The Australian food manufacturing industry is an intricate maze of ingredient and packaging suppliers, most with different supply chain management solutions.

To manage ingredient safety and increase the visibility of food ingredients and raw materials in these complex supply chains, a new project, titled the Supply Chain Improvement Project, is being implemented with the objective of strengthening integration between upstream supply chains in the Australian food manufacturing industry.

An industry working group has been set up to drive the project using GS1 standards. The group will work to achieve consensus across the industry to improve food safety, deliver efficiencies and reduce costs. Representatives from Nestlé, Ingham’s, SPC, Lion Dairy and Drinks, Sanitarium, CHR Hansen, Newly Weds Foods, FPC Food Plastics, Labelmakers and Visy Industries are some who currently make up the group.

The ability to capture material movements from “paddock to plate” provides data integrity and timeliness from receipt to delivery, with traceability back to the source. Through automation, many of the manual processes are eliminated and companies can be proactive with inventory management and handling systems.

The capability to support information and production flow within existing systems for integrated supply chains is critical to businesses. The project has the capacity to eliminate waste within an organisation’s value stream, reduce non-value-added tasks and ensure cost-effective solutions for customers, leading to a “right-first-time” approach for all deliveries.

Sourcing ingredients without a traceability and food safety protocol today invites counterfeit products onto the food chain and increases risk of contamination.
The adoption of GS1 standards as the common language for the identification, data capture and data sharing will enable automation of key ingredient sourcing, and traceability between ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers.

Using GS1 standards for upstream integration allows companies to translate their internal processes and approaches into a common language that all trading partners can use and understand without having to translate data formats across different supply chain management systems.

The Supply Chain Improvement Project has the potential to confer many benefits to industry, including increased visibility of food ingredients and raw materials, unique identification and traceability to improve food safety, and reduced costs with automated business transactions.

A taste of Australian cellar doors in Chinese homes

Miniature sample packs designed to bring cellar door style tastings into the home are providing a new Chinese sales channel for South Australian wineries.

delaide startup Trust in Taste trialled the system in China earlier in the year and is now ramping up its marketing and production ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations in late January and early February.

So far five wineries have partnered with Trust in Taste from South Australian regions Barossa, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Riverland and Adelaide Plains with wines sent to China including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Pinot Noir.

The channel involves targeted messages to Chinese wine drinkers through social media platform WeChat inviting them to sign-up for an in-home tasting for AU$5 (¥25RMD).

Three South Australian wines in 60ml bottles with QR codes are then home delivered for a cellar door style tasting. When scanned, the QR code on each bottle takes the taster to the Trust in Taste WeChat store where more information on the wine is provided, including a video with the winemaker.

Larger 750ml bottles can then be ordered on the website for about $30 each (¥150RMD) and feedback can be given on each sample.

“It’s direct to consumer wine but we give people the opportunity to sample the wine before they buy it to take the risk out – we know that works because cellar doors work,” co-founder Peter Evans said.

“We’re trying to provide a cellar door experience in every home in the world, starting in China.”

One of the key aspects of the marketing channel is the development of technology to transfer wine from regular wine bottles into the small tasting samples without affecting wine quality.

This is done by Trust in Taste in China with the next generation of machine currently being developed to fully automate the process.

“We created some technology that allows us to take wine out of a big bottle and put it into a small bottle with a 30-day shelf life – that was previously not possible,” Evans said.

“It’s done in a certain way in a fully inert environment – the wine never touches oxygen.

“We had a winemaker blind taste his own wine and he couldn’t tell the difference between the one we opened 10 minutes earlier and the one that was 30 days old.”

China is Australia’s biggest export market for wine with more than AU$1 billion worth of Australian wine heading there each year. Australia is second only to France for wine exports to China.

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

Under the Trust in Taste model, participating wineries deliver a pallet – about 60 cases or 720 bottles – of wine to Trust in Taste and it is shipped to their warehouse in China where a portion of it is put into sample bottles.

If the wine does not all sell during the 120-day consignment period it can be returned to the winery for sale in Australia.

The cost to the winery for the marketing, videos, shipping, import/export paperwork and 1000 tasting samples is $3500.

Evans said this system also took the risk out of exporting to China for small and medium-sized producers and gave them an additional channel for reaching new consumers.

He said the online feedback provided after a tasting also gave the participating wineries a rare insight into “the most opaque market in the world”.

“We take the wine from them on consignment, ship it to China, put it in the small sample packs and put it into the mouths of 1000 people,” Evans said.

“They either buy the wine or tell us why they don’t like it.

“What the wineries are appreciating is that opaque market has disappeared, they are now talking to consumers who are telling them x, y or z about their wine.

“If you send it out to 1000 people and you get 200 responses then that’s about 198 more than you would get if you were selling it through a distributor – that’s what the wineries are telling us – they just got no feedback previously.”

The first trial samples were distributed in April but a cornerstone investment by a venture capital and private equity fund last month has allowed Trust in Taste to conduct further market research and ramp up the operation ahead of Chinese New Year, which falls on February 5.

The investment by South Australian fund Silicon Balls came about after Trust in Taste was a finalist in the marketing category at the Wine Industry Impact Awards in October.

So far about 1500 tasting kits have been sent to consumers mainly in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou with about a 10 per cent conversion rate into full bottle sales for certain labels. But two wine shipments to China this week will help ramp up supply and allow a fresh wave of tasting samples to be sent out in January.

Trust in Taste was founded by Evans and his brother John and has seven staff in China.

Evans said he hoped to have 30 Australian wineries on board by the end of 2019 and was looking for more investment to help roll out the model globally.

“We’re concentrating on China because the numbers are really attractive but the concept, the technology to get it out of the big bottle and into the little bottle and the marketing works anywhere in the world,” he said.

“All we need is a population area over five million, good messaging and good logistics – wherever you can deliver within a day.”

Evans said in initial trials 40 per cent of WeChat users who clicked through to the Trust in Taste WeChat store went on to order a sample tasting.

He said the 2019 goal was to expand the business in China to 200,000 samples by the end of the year with a conversion rate of 20 per cent.

“People will go and do tastings in China but we haven’t found anyone else doing what we’re doing,” Evans said.

Trust in Taste’s research into its WeChat audience has found that its target consumer in China is likely to be female, 25-35 years old, and degree educated. The target consumer lives in a big city, drinks two to three bottles of wine a month with friends in a quiet place and is prepared to pay between AU$20 and $60 (¥100 – ¥300RMB) for a bottle.

This equates to almost 50 million people in the direct target market and 100 million when males are included.

“So this is not corporate gift giving, this is a newer generation coming through wanting to learn a bit more about wine and drink it with friends,” Evans said.

“It’s also about turning up to a dinner party for Chinese New Year, presenting a bottle of wine and not being embarrassed about how it might taste.”

Artificial Intelligence helps accurately map Australia’s 65 wine regions

The vineyards in Australia’s 65 wine regions will soon be accurately mapped using high-resolution satellite images and advanced machine learning in a national census of Australia’s winegrape area.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said the national scan is an exciting opportunity as it will allow Australia for the first time to have a scalable and repeatable method to measure vineyard area.

“Through the investment, the maps will also be delivered in an online interface that will be able to be accessed by Australia’s grape-growers,” he said.

By mid-2019, Consilium Technology’s world leading agricultural artificial intelligence software Geospatial Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture (GAIA) will deliver a row-by-row census of all of Australia’s vineyards using high-resolution satellite images and advanced machine learning.

READ: Australia’s winegrape crush in 2018 just above long-term average

The scan will be repeated for two years, producing maps for three consecutive vintages.

Wine Australia’s agreement with Consilium Technology follows a successful pilot undertaken earlier in 2018, which returned an outstanding accuracy of more than 90 per cent for scans of the two trial regions Margaret River and Tasmania.

“GAIA’s pilot of Margaret River and Tasmania demonstrated the technology can deliver accurate, timely and cost-effective information about Australia’s vineyards and it is exciting that its capabilities will continue to grow as it learns from the information it receives. We are extremely pleased with the results,” said Clark.

GAIA’s first test was conducted in Margaret River where vineyard locations were already known, and a quantitative analysis of accuracy performed on the results.

A second demonstration was then run using the trained algorithm from the previous analysis to demonstrate its learning capability, which showed a 5 per cent improvement on the previous scan.

Tasmania provided GAIA with an unknown space to work with and the added complication for the software of other crops that have a very similar appearance to vineyards.

“GAIA stood up to the challenge and we’re excited to see how it performs against similar obstacles in other wine regions,” said Clark.

The first national scan will be delivered in mid-2019 and will include the geolocation of every vineyard block in Australia, the area of vineyards for each geographical indication and the length of the vineyard rows in each region.

It is anticipated that the information from the scan will also be beneficial to Australia’s biosecurity activities and wine label integrity.

To improve the quality of the reporting, grape-growers will be asked to identify the varieties of the vineyard plots from the scan.

Funding flows in for Western Australia’s wine regions

Western Australia’s wine regions are receiving funding from the Australian government.

A $2-million marketing campaign to boost international visits to Western Australia’s wine regions received support from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, a network of WA Government and sector partners.

Wines of WA has secured $1 million in funding through the International Wine Tourism State Grants program and $1m in matching state funds, through a consortium of state government agencies and tourism, agricultural and regional bodies.

Wine Australia chief executive officer, Andreas Clark, said the Wines of WA application was approved by the Australian Government following assessment by an independent expert assessment panel.

READ: Four of the five largest markets for Australian wine exports have grown in value

“The $5m state grants program aims to maximise the wine sector’s impact on state economies – it’s about driving collaborative, strategic wine tourism initiatives that attract international visitors to our wine regions,” said Clark.

Wines of WA was working with the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tourism WA and their counterparts in the wine, trade and agriculture sectors to cross promote WA’s wine, food and tourism destinations and experiences, he said.

Wines of WA collaborative wine tourism strategy aligns with the existing Western Australian Wine Industry Strategic Plan 2014–2024, which aims to double wine exports to $100m by 2021.

Wines of WA chief executive officer, Larry Jorgensen, said the investment plan was built around four key areas – in-region and inter-region collaboration with key sector partners, wine tourism product development, a comprehensive suite of digital marketing tools and partnerships with tourism operators and agencies.

“The aim is to build on the strong brand of regional hotspots like Margaret River and create new wine tourism experiences in other regions to extend tourists’ spend and length of stay in WA”, said Jorgensen.

The $5 million International Wine Tourism State Grants program requires applicants to provide matching funding on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Yarra Valley company Seville Estate win winery of the year award

Seville Estate has been named Winery of the Year at the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Wine expert James Halliday presented the award at a ceremony in Melbourne, in early August.

Each year Halliday and a tasting panel determine the best from a pool of several thousand featured in the annual Halliday wine companion guide.

In addition to the Winery of the Year award, Seville Estate’s 2017 release includes 10 wines awarded with 95 points or more including its signature shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay ranges.

READ: Victoria’s wine industry gets a $2 million boost from the government

Chief winemaker and general manager Dylan McMahon said he was honoured to accept the award.

“Seville Estate has been consistently producing great wines ever since my grandfather Peter McMahon first planted the vineyard. I feel the success is attributed to a combination of factors, location, vine material and a good understanding of the vineyard that can be translated into the winemaking,” he said.

“My grandmother Margaret chose this site for its sheer beauty and it was Pete’s drive and determination to make great cool climate wines from it. Our team work hard to ensure this vision continues,” said McMahon.

The Seville Estate 2017 wine release was produced from 26 acres of estate vineyard and will be released on allocation from the 5th of October 2018.

An hour’s drive from Melbourne, Seville Estate is located in the foothills of Mount Dandenong at the start of the Yarra River.

The winery has a recently refurbished cellar door, onsite accommodation and a weekend restaurant providing lunch and dinner.

Wine of the Year was awarded to 2017 Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling, produced in Great Southern WA.

Winemaker of the Year went to Julian Langworthy of Deep Woods Estate in Margaret River, WA.

The Best Value Winery of the Year award went to Provenance Wines in Geelong, Victoria.

Best New Winery was awarded to Mewstone Wines, Tasmania.

Dark Horse Winery of the Year was awarded to Principia, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

Photo: from left, Andrew Peggie, Jarrod Johnson, Dylan McMahon from Seville Estate.

Victoria’s wine industry gets a $2 million boost from the government

Victoria’s wine industry has received a $2 million boost from the government through the third round of the wine growth fund.

Member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard, represented minister for agriculture and regional development, Jaala Pulford, on the 30th of July, to announce the extra funding and expanded guidelines for the fund.

Howard said the wine industry contributed more than $7.6 billion to the economy.

“[It] employs more than 13,000 people in grape growing, wine making, cellar door sales and hospitality operations – that’s why we’re investing in its future.”

READ: Four of the five largest markets for Australian wine exports have grown in value

The fund aims to develop and sustainably grow the wine industry in Victoria by providing innovative growers, organisations and projects with money to build both domestic and international markets.

It supports activities including marketing, exporting, tourism and business development.

Funding guidelines have been altered so infrastructure projects that attract significant investment and create new jobs are eligible for grants of up to $100,000.

The first two rounds of the fund supported 106 projects worth nearly $2 million in Victoria.

These projects have created new jobs in the wine industry, generated an increase in visitation to Victoria’s wineries, and increased sales and exports of Victorian wines.

Pulford said the government was proud to announce a third round of this program.

“Victorian winemakers produce beautiful wines for every occasion, taste and price and we’re supporting them on the world stage and closer to home.”

Applications are open to businesses or organisations from all wine regions in Victoria directly involved in the wine industry, including the growing, making and marketing of wine.

Four of the five largest markets for Australian wine exports have grown in value

Four of the largest markets for Australian wine exports grew in value and volume in the 2017/18 financial year.

At $2.8 billion, the value of Australian wine exports has seen the largest growth in 15 years. This is a 20 per cent growth.

But, of the five largest markets, the only one not to grow in value and volume was the US market.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the strong growth in the value and volume of Australian wine exports is very welcome, but the challenges and opportunities for the sector were very clear.

READ: Wine Australia to invest $67.8m in ambitious agenda for coming year

“USA is the world’s largest wine market and Australia has the opportunity to capture more of the premium end of the market as American consumers trade up to higher priced wines,” said Clark.

Australia had been strong in the commercial half of the US market, as 54 per cent of the US off-trade volume was wines under US$8 per bottle, but this market was shrinking, he said.

American consumers are transitioning from commercial wines to more premium wines.

“The premium end of the USA wine market is enjoying robust growth, as are Australian exports in nearly all price points above $10 per litre. We’re working to accelerate this growth in demand through a marketing push supported by the Australian government’s $50 million export and regional wine support package,” said Clark.

An inaugural Australia Decanted event was launched at the end of July, at Lake Tahoe, California.

“This four-day wine education program is immersing 100 key influencers, from the USA in Australia’s diverse and thriving wine scene, to raise awareness of the breadth of Australia’s fine wine offering and the perception of the Australian wine category in the USA,” said Clark.

“Australia Decanted will become Wine Australia’s signature annual event in the USA and will be followed by Aussie Wine Week, in September this year, and Aussie Wine Month in September 2019,” he said.

Despite challenges in the US market, there was an increase in the average value of bottled
exports shared by 69 of the 127 destinations for Australian wine, with demand for premium
Australian wine in Northeast Asia being the biggest contributor to value and volume growth.

The growth in exports was driven by a 15 per cent increase in active exporters compared to the previous 12 months, with 2298 exporters shipping 23,761 unique products. Of these exporters, 1616 either started exporting or grew the value of their exports, contributing $653 million to the growth in overall export value.

Sydney Royal’s Grape, Grain & Graze Festival to ignite wine-lovers’ taste buds

People can keep warm in this winter with the Grape, Grain and Graze wine festival in Sydney.

The festival, formerly known as the Sydney Royal Wine Experience, will showcase hundreds of wines.

But it’s not only for wine lovers. There will be Sydney Royal award-winning beers and ciders as well.

Experts will be on site to explain why these beverages are considered the cream of the crop.

READ: First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

All this with Sydney Royal award–winning food and music to match.

Each of the 2300 wines are judged in the annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show just days earlier. Ticketholders can then make their own judgements.

Industry judges will be on hand to answer questions and guide people’s palates around the stunning array of drinks on offer.

Sydney Royal Wine committee chairwoman Sally Evans said nowhere else in Australia would people be given this sort of opportunity to taste a vast array of award-winning wines, beers, ciders and produce.

“This is a once a year experience, offering extraordinary value for money, which brings the public into direct contact with the very best Australia has to offer from the land. These producers take extreme pride in what they create, and for the public to be able to enjoy these offerings on such a grand scale and all in the one location is a real treat,” said Evans.

“Whether you are seeking a fun afternoon out with your girlfriends, your partner or a group of mates, our team at Sydney Royal has every base covered for you,” she said.

The event will be held on the 11th of August at Sydney Olympic Park.


First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

Australia’s first sweet wine symposium will celebrate the diversity of sweeter style wine varieties produced in Australia.

The symposium is being held on the 20th and 21st of October in the Margaret River region.

The inaugural event is taking place at Happs Wines, kicking off with an event that will feature 20 sweet wine tasting stations located throughout the winery.

Styles include Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and Late Harvest.

READ: Riesling back on top at 2017 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show

There’s a chance to meet with winemakers and marketing experts on the Sunday.

People can also participate in a masterclass and discover the evolution of sweet wines in Australia.

The weekend program will be rounded off with a lunch paired with sweet wines – showcasing the many flavours that can be matched with these styles.

Organisers hope the event will increase awareness and acceptance of sweet wines to the greater wine loving community.

Happs Wines manager, Leah Clearwater, said she was surprised there was no other event like it in Australia.

“I believe this will bring sweet-wine-lovers out in numbers and we look forward to joining with other Aussie producers to reveal some of the incredible sweet wines being produced out there,” she said.

Sweet wines can be enjoyed with a variety of foods, including with a spicy curry, or with cheese and crackers.

It is hoped the symposium will help consumers reconnect with Australia’s sweeter wines, which are seeing good growth in both the domestic and international retail markets.

Brown Brothers Milawa assistant winemaker and brand ambassador, Katherine Brown, said it was a great initiative to ensure that sweet wines were taken seriously.

“Of course, we can still drink them for the good fun that they are but understand that it takes a lot of time and skill to make this style of wine,” she said.

“One of the bestselling white wines in Australia is a Moscato style wine and this fact is overlooked by many of the industry as it is not taken as a serious wine. Bringing industry and consumers together to discuss and enjoy these wines is going to be a fabulous event for all that get involved,” said Brown.

Entry to the event costs $30, which includes branded glassware and the chance to give a People’s Choice vote for each category.

Dalefold Wines’ licence suspended for exporting unapproved products

Australian company Dalefold Wines has had its licence to export grape products from Australia suspended.

The Board of Wine Australia suspended the licence in late-July after discovering the company was exporting grape products that were not approved by Wine Australia.

While the suspension remains in place, Dalefold Wines may not export wine from Australia.

Wine Australia is seeking further information from Dalefold Wines before deciding the length of the suspension and considering whether the licence should be cancelled.

READ: Wine Australia to invest $67.8m in ambitious agenda for coming year

Wine Australia last cancelled a licence in the 2015-16 financial year.

Wine Australia found out that Dalefold Wines exported three grape products from Australia for which an export certificate was not in force.

By doing so, Dalefold Wines contravened section 44 of the Wine Australia Act 2013 and the Wine Australia Regulations 2018.

The company also engaged in activity that aimed to leverage from the reputation of another wine brand in China through causing consumer confusion.

This was done to the extent that it could affect the export trade in all grape products from Australia by diminishing consumer confidence in the integrity and authenticity of Australian grape products in China.

It could also cause harm to the reputation of all Australian grape products, relations with importers, current promotional strategies or the marketability of Australian grape products relative to competitors.

Changes to the Wine Australia Regulations 2018 earlier this year mean that other exporters may not export wine on behalf of Dalefold Wines now that its licence has been suspended.

Wine Australia acts to protect the reputation of Australian wine by regulating export shipments, conducting audits of wine producers and ensuring the truthfulness of claims made on Australian wine labels in both the domestic and export markets.

There are currently 2298 active licensed exporters.

Wine cannot be exported from Australia without an export licence issued by Wine Australia, which has the power to suspend or cancel licenses when necessary.

Australian grape and wine tech receives $9 million partnership boost

Wine Australia and the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) have signed a $9 million co-investment research, development and extension (RD&E) agreement to develop new technologies and provide practical information to growers and winemakers to increase profitability and competitiveness, as well as improve environmental sustainability.

The NWGIC, is an alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU), the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Wine Industry Association.

The strategic partnership agreement will fund research projects that align with Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan and RD&E priorities and have been developed in consultation with the wine sector in New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria and with the NSW DPI.

Wine Australia will contribute $2.5 million, Charles Sturt University (CSU) will contribute $4.1 million (cash and in-kind) and NSW DPI $2.4 million over the next five years. The projects will:

  • determine the thresholds for botrytis and other bunch rot contamination of grapes, and conduct a feasibility assessment of the most appropriate practices to manage faults in wine when bunch rot thresholds are exceeded
  • develop a decision support tool and a field-tested smartphone app for assessing fruit volume and predicting optimal harvest date
  • develop a smartphone app for on-the-spot nutrient assessments and diagnosis of nutritional disorders in the vineyard
  • explore the potential for controlling berry acidity in the vineyard through the addition of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in fertiliser to decrease additional intervention in managing acidity when making wine, and
  • develop recommendations on how to tailor sulfur dioxide and ascorbic acid use based on wine compositional parameters.

‘We are delighted to partner with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre to deliver some outstanding practical tools and outcomes for our sector over the next five years,” said Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark.

“This agreement with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre reflects our united commitment to finding effective solutions to improving the competitiveness of Australia’s grape and wine community. We would like to thank all of those who participated in the development of these projects to help us ensure the timely delivery of relevant and valuable outcomes for our sector.”

“This research is based on meeting the needs of industry and aims to deliver practical information and innovation to make Australia’s wine industry more profitable and sustainable to support thriving rural communities,” said NWGIC Director, Professor Leigh Schmidtke.

This agreement is the fourth in a series of bilateral partnerships between Wine Australia and major research institutions under a new research and development funding framework that aims to allow the Australian grape and wine community’s research partners to be better able to make strategic investments and plan for the future, maintain technical capabilities in key areas, and have greater flexibility to pursue promising research results within an overall agreed framework.

Roadshow success for Oz wines in China

Australian wineries have been making the most of the China Roadshow to the four cities of Shenyang, Jinan, Wuhan and Shanghai (4–11 June) and packing their programs with extra customer engagement activities in the four cities and beyond.

Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said, “China is an incredibly competitive market and it’s been great to see wine exporters out in force using Vinexpo Hong Kong and China Roadshow as platforms to showcase their quality brands.”

Wine Australia’s Regional General Manager for China, David Lucas said, “We’ve had a record 71 exhibitors showcasing more than 150 brands and 700 wines in this year’s Roadshow, assisted by support from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.”

‘We’ve had a busy eight-day program and many companies have been using the opportunity of being in market to organise meetings and events around the Roadshow, while others have been visiting extra cities to build relationships with clients old and new,” he said.

Making the most of being in market are Guy and Liz Adams from Brothers in Arms in Langhorne Creek. They have added side trips to Shenzhen, Tianjin and Changzhou to their itinerary over the last week.

“The timeframe is tight but with good planning you can create opportunities to both cement existing relationships and nurture new ones. And with the infrastructure in China – especially the fast trains – you can reach many cities quickly and efficiently,” Guy Adams, managing director, said.

Sharon Bosveld, Proprietor of Churchview Estate in Margaret River, added trips to Guangzhou both before and after Roadshow. She said, “After the event, it is worth investing extra time in following up on leads and contacts. Time in the market is invaluable.”

Chester Osborn, Chief Winemaker and Viticulturist at d’Arenberg Wines in McLaren Vale added Harbin, Jinzhou, Hebei and Beijing to d’Arenberg’s itinerary. He said, “The Roadshow is a great springboard to reach all parts of China. We’ve visited north, central and east China and have been blown away with the interest and excitement in our wines from long-standing and new clients.

“We have a strong focus on education and bringing to life the story of McLaren Vale and d’Arenberg. We take every opportunity to engage with our customers and build deeper relationships,” Osborn said.

Ben Crossing, general manager of Angullong Wines in Orange has also visited Beijing. He said, “It’s a great opportunity to use the time to connect with your customers through dinners and other tasting events. Building and maintaining relationships is key in this market.”

Innovative wine research centre to future-proof Australia’s industry

Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus, the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production will undertake research aiming to build the sustainability and competitive edge of Australia’s $5 billion wine industry.

In establishing the centre, researchers consulted widely with producers, suppliers, industry bodies and other researcher agencies to identify research priorities.

Centre Director Professor Vladimir Jiranek, who is also Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide, said the research projects would help industry respond to the challenges of climate extremes, diseases, spoilage, water limitations and quality losses.

“We will also be helping industry increase profitability through the production of sought-after, distinct wines that fetch higher prices, and more efficient wine-making processes,” Professor Jiranek said.

“For example, one project will aim to characterise the distinctive flavours of Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines, focusing initially on the Coonawarra region.

“We want to determine how pragmatic and cost-effective vineyard practices can change grape composition to meet consumer preferences, whether in traditional Western or booming Asian markets.”

Other projects aim to develop strategies for meeting quality and yield targets despite environmental challenges; better understanding, detecting and controlling disease, spoilage and wine taint; and developing and adapting new technologies to reduce waste and cost, and drive profitability.

The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus is part of Australia’s largest wine research hub in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, which also includes the Australian Wine Research Institute, CSIRO and the university’s teaching winery.

A secondary ARC Training Centre node will be established at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the centre built on a long history of wine research and multi-agency collaboration at the Waite campus.

“This is a perfect example of how our university can leverage research strengths and intellectual capability to meet industry needs, which will brings economic benefits for the state and the nation,” he said.

Launched today by Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, the centre is being backed by an A$4.46 million government grant.

Minister Birmingham said the centre further cemented Adelaide as Australia’s wine capital.

“Spanning the entire product chain—from grape-growing to the consumer—this training centre will continue to be critical to improving the competitiveness and viability of Australian wine production in the long-term,” he said.

“World first research and technological breakthroughs in the vineyard, winemaking processes, marketing practices and even bottle closures have helped make Australia a world leader, but it is essential that we invest and train to stay ahead of our many global competitors.”

A key objective of the centre is to train the next generation of wine scientists and researchers focused on industry outcomes.

Partner organisations include: NSW Department of Primary Industries, VA Filtration, CSIRO, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Coonawarra Grape and Wine Inc., Australian Genome Research Facility, Australian Wine Research Institute, E&J Gallo, Chalmers Wines, Charles Sturt University, Wine Australia, Availer and Lallemand Australia.

Premium wine business course to be launched at Vinexpo

Two of the world’s great wine regions have come together to offer a high-end business course spanning two continents.

The 10-day Business of Wine course will give industry professionals access to some of the leading minds in Adelaide, Australia, and Bordeaux, France.

The course is the result of collaboration between renowned wine industry educators the University of Adelaide and the KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy in Bordeaux.

The 10-day course was launched today, 29 May, at the Vinexpo in Hong Kong.

Course participants will spend five days in each region where they will be given exclusive access to vineyard tours and master classes led by chief winemakers. Alongside this, a tailored academic program will cover subjects such as research and development, global market insights, wine marketing, and consumer behaviour.

Bordeaux is probably the most famous wine region in the world while Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is within an hour’s drive of globally renowned regions Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

Adelaide joined Bordeaux as a Great Wine Capital in 2016.

“This unique and immersive program has been designed to allow people from all over the world to learn from the experiences of experts from two of the world’s greatest wine regions,” said University of Adelaide Wine Business Program Director Marni Ladd.

“Participants will learn from the best academics and business leaders not just about the science of wine, but also about future challenges in the wine business.”

The program is a direct result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Adelaide Business School and KEDGE Business School last year.

KEDGE Wine and Spirits Academy Director Professor Jacques-Olivier Pesme said France and Australia’s winemaking histories and experiences were different but very complimentary.

“As such, the experiences, practices, and technologies of these two regions provide different perspectives which are among the most successful ones in the world of wine,” he said.

“This polarity is what make this program so unique; a truly holistic learning experience.”

Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producer and the second largest exporter to China, behind France. South Australia produces about 50 per cent of Australia’s wine and is home to leading brands including Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys Wines and Wolf Blass.

Expressions of interest are being sought for the inaugural course, which will likely be held in Adelaide in November 2018 and Bordeaux in May 2019.

The new course was launched at a Vinexpo event attended by wine business leaders, industry bodies, dignitaries and the Great Wine Capitals Global Network community.

Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, involving the participation of both the University of Adelaide and KEDGE, is the most influential wine and spirits trade fair in Asia. This year, the fair celebrates Australia as the ‘Country of Honour’.

Speaking at Vinexpo, Australian Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the course would take advantage of existing and emerging market opportunities.

“Australian wine producers have never been so connected with the world as the global demand for our wine only grows,” Senator Ruston said.