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15/12/2008

Grant Burge invests in Europe

In a boost to international sales, Grant Burge Wines has appointed former Wine Australia Marketing Executive Tim Lockwood as its European Sales Manager.

With the tightening of European markets, Grant Burge says there is a big prize for wineries willing to invest time and resources into working closely with customers.

The company has a strong commitment to building successful relationships in Europe and the success of these partnerships has recently been evident in industry awards.

Grant Burge Wines’ German distributor Schulmberger has been awarded ‘Wine Merchant/Wine Importer of the Year’ by the well-known German magazine Weinwirtschaft. And UK importer Hatch Mansfield was awarded 2007 International Wine Challenge Wine Merchant of the Year.

Grant sees the new European focused sales role as further investment to maintain the high profile of Grant Burge Wines in the region, by engaging and being represented by the industry’s leaders.

“Not only will it open up opportunities within the region, but this move will also free up our Export Sales Manager Rob Gordon to spend more time making inroads into the emerging Asian markets, ” said Grant. He sees Asia as a key growth area where the company is looking to dramatically improve its focus and in-turn sales.

Based in Berlin, which serves as a major hub within the EU region, Tim will help the winery efficiently access all European markets on a regular basis. “As Wine Australia’s former Continental European Marketing Executive, Tim brings to the company an extensive understanding of the marketplace,” Grant said.

Tim believes representation in the dynamic European market is crucial to a winery’s success or otherwise.

“Australian wineries are facing challenges in the region, led by fierce competition from home-grown European wines with the resurgent popularity of the ‘old world’, especially in German speaking countries,” said Tim “This comes on top of the heavy marketing support received by the EU producers which dwarfs Australia’s by comparison.”

Tim says Australian wineries find it difficult to provide everyday support for importers from afar. “Swift responses are the key to taking advantage of selling opportunities as they arise,” he said.

Tim has had a long association with Grant Burge Wines in retail, trade and through Wine Australia. “I have seen the reputation of the wines grow to great heights over this time and the opportunity to take it further in Europe was too good to miss.”

Looking ahead, Tim believes greater education in international markets emphasising the diverse offer from Australia is important to prevent “pigeon holing” by competitors. “Grant Burge is well placed to take advantage of this, as well as being a strong brand in itself,” he says.

Personal contact is critical to attract the attention of important buyers in the on and off trade, and being based in Berlin, Tim can successfully create and nurture these links as he takes on the day-to-day management of the company’s European Export Sales Business.

In his previous role with Wine Australia, Tim amassed a solid reputation among key European media identities when he prepared and implemented the comprehensive Media and Education Plan. This was in-line with the organisation’s strategic plan to further develop and add value to the Australian wine category.

Tim was also a founding partner and Managing Director of the ‘Australian Wine Centre’ in central Sydney from 1993 – 2002 where his many responsibilities included arranging export sales to more than 20 countries and developing a 90 seat Wine Bar and Restaurant.

Fluent in German, Tim has lived in Berlin since 2002. In his four years at Wine Australia, he supported the market entry strategies and marketing programs of many Australian wineries. He played an integral role in developing the Regional Heroes program in the UK and Ireland, which is now being rolled out worldwide.

Tim also has a good understanding of Grant Burge Wines after working closely with Rob Gordon and a number of European importers.

Family owned Grant Burge Wines is a medium-sized Australian winemaker, producing about 350,000 cases a year.

An image of Tim Lockwood is attached, to request an interview please contact Olivia Barrie or Tim Lockwood.

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