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Key appointments in UK and Canada
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Australia’s wine marketing efforts in the key markets of the UK, Ireland and Canada have been boosted with the appointment of two new regional managers to oversee a range of strategic marketing initiatives in Australia’s largest and third largest export markets. The Corporation’s chief executive, Sam Tolley, said the appointments of Monica Ralphs as Canada regional manager and Kirsten Moore as UK and Ireland regional manager came at a critical time for Australian wine exports. Latest figures for the 12 months to January 2006 show that Australia is still the leading importer into the UK market, by volume and value, despite its maturing profile and the challenges that will bring. In the same period, growth in sales to Canada remained strong with volume up 24% to 50 million litres and value up 11% to $A261 million. “The UK and Canadian markets are challenging for the Australian wine sector but for different reasons,” Tolley said. “In the UK, our everyday wines remain very popular among price-conscious consumers but there is still considerable scope for increased sales of higher priced wines – over £5 – in restaurants, pubs and wine specialty stores. In Canada, which is proving to be a rising star for Australian wine exports, the challenge is to maintain our high rates of growth in both volume and value.” The Corporation’s general manager, market development, Paul Henry, said Moore and Ralphs both had impressive backgrounds in wine marketing in addition to extensive knowledge of their regional markets. Australian-born Moore has direct experience in the UK off- and on-trade channels and, most recently, had a wine and beverage buying role at catering business Compass Group UK. “She is looking forward to getting back to her Australian origins and taking on the challenges involved in keeping Australian wines at the forefront of trade, media and consumers’ minds,” Henry said. “Australia has enjoyed such success over the past decade in the UK market that the challenge now is to maintain that position, partly by shifting the perception that Australian wines have in the minds of the consumer. Australia has such regional and stylistic diversity, producing wines of quality and interest at all price points.” Moore has UK Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualifications, an economics degree from James Cook University in Queensland and a Bachelor of Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide. “She has a good grasp of the challenges that Australia has to face in order to stay relevant and compelling to a maturing UK market. I have every confidence that she will make a significant and successful contribution to the next phase of Australia’s development,” Henry said. He said that Ralphs already had been a valuable contributor to the Australian wine sector in Canada as the corporation’s events and marketing manager for the past two years in the eastern region of Canada, based in the Wine Australia office in Toronto (the corporation has a second Canada office in Vancouver to serve the western region of the huge country). “Ralphs is very well suited for this important role and has demonstrated a clear knowledge of the specific Canadian market challenges for Wine Australia. Importantly, she will build strong enduring relationships among our key target audience: trade, media and consumers,” Henry said. “She is already a popular and well respected member of the wine trade community and I know that she will be well supported by colleagues and industry alike.” Henry said the Canadian market was shaping up as a pivotal market for Australian wine. Specifically, Quebec offers new and significant opportunities for exporters while British Columbia and Ontario remain strongholds for Australian wine. Another Canadian province, the Maritimes, continued to be the destination of many brands thriving in smaller markets. Prior to joining the corporation in July 2004, Montreal-born Ralphs – who is fluent in both English and French – spent eight years in a variety of roles within the Canadian wine industry including senior marketing positions with a national wine agency and a large spirits company. More recently, as a qualified wine educator, Ralphs designed and delivered the wine curriculum for a Canadian community college.