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Personality needs to be at forefront

Keynote Speaker at the Wine Industry Outlook Conference this week has urged Australia make wine more exciting and quintessentially Australian.

Director of Beer, Wines and Spirits, Tesco Stores Ltd UK Dan Jago says emerging trends in the United Kingdom retail environment and exposed what Tesco views as potential risks for wine retailing in the future.

“For too long you’ve been saying ‘this is good because it’s Australian,’ you have to tell us why it’s different. I would really, really ask you to put the personality back into wine,” he said.

“I would also urge you to make your wines lighter and more refreshing. Wines with 13 or 14% alcohol just aren’t exciting any more, and consumers are currently looking to the Old World for more refreshing wines.”

But Jago also sees considerable opportunities for Australian exports with regard to maintaining and gaining market share and profitability.

“As an industry, and as a retailer, we’re running too hot on promotions at the moment,” he said.

“You shorten the life of your brands by over-spiking them. Let’s reduce promotional participation.” His final message summed up the need for action in the Australian industry. “If you don’t change, others will change faster,” Jago said.

The conference titled “Wine Australia: Flying the Flag”, was held in Melbourne on Tuesday 27 November and a crowd of about 320 delegates, including winemakers, marketers, company directors, retailers and media representatives from across Australia attended the day-long event.

In his opening address to the conference, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia President David Clarke said the drought, water policy reforms and prospects of climate change is forcing industry to review business models with an eye to where sustainable future lies. “Our greatest fear should not be reform, but reform complacency,” Clarke said.

Delegates also heard from Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) Manager, Information and Analysis Lawrie Stanford with his annual prediction of the supply and demand situation for the grape and wine industry.

“The current swing from over-supply to under-supply has been nothing short of dramatic,” Stanford said.

“This is an opportunity to meet value-building goals.” Stanford forecast a crop of 1.22 million tonnes for the 2008 vintage, however he also predicted that 2009 would be even lower.

But there was some good news. “Bottled wine shipments have revived and bottled wine unit prices are slowly on the rise,” he said.



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