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Survey finds McLaren Vale brand stronger than ever

A recent survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has found the McLaren Vale wine brand is performing strongly in Australia and overseas.

Executive Officer of the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association, Sandie Holmes, said local wine producers were surveyed recently to determine the worth of the region.

Ms Holmes was impressed by the results, which highlighted the strength of the brand and confirmed the region was a major economic generator for South Australia.

She believes the survey is a positive for the region, particularly in light of the weak industry climate — caused by an over-supply of Australian grapes.

“It is important to understand our region is sustainable at this time. To know we have a solid base that we can build on in the future is a definite confidence-booster,” she said.

The surveyed wine producers that participated in the survey sold 932,710 cases of wine with 446,295 (or 48%) branded as McLaren Vale wine. This compares to the national average of regionally branded wine, which is reportedly about 20%.

The surveyed wine producers sold an average of 454, 505 cases of wine overseas, and 201,486 of these cases were McLaren Vale branded wines.

Not surprisingly, the survey also found 43% of those surveyed exported to the US and 21% to the UK.

“And the producers have increased their revenue by 101% since 2002 which shows you their commitment to producing top quality wines,” Ms Holmes said.

The surveyed wine producers were visited by 221,100 tourists who spent more than $5.3 million on cellar door sales alone.

“I believe these survey results show the strength of our brand. Not only are we popular with Australian wine drinkers and tourists but we are making our mark at an international level,” Ms Holmes said.

The popularity of the region’s wines was confirmed by the success of the recent Sea & Vines Festival, which attracted about 35,000 visitors to the Vale over the June long weekend.

“The Sea and Vines festival is really a South Australian institution. Our visitors come back year after year to enjoy quality food, wine and music in a beautiful setting and atmosphere,” Ms Holmes said.

Visitors flocked to the festival to enjoy gourmet seafood, which was perfectly matched by iconic McLaren vale wine varieties such as Shiraz and Grenache.

The Deloitte survey was initiated after the 2005 harvest and vintage. Grapegrowing and winemaking members of the Association were asked to supply data about their operations and annual production.

The respondents included 21 major private wine companies and one major public company.

“It is important to note that twenty-two producers were surveyed from a region of sixty-nine. This means the data actually underestimates the economic worth of McLaren Vale. It is likely that if every single producer was surveyed the results would show an even more favourable situation.”

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