February (No. 493)
Promoting regions could confuse the market
Austrade trade commissioner, David Lawson, was a guest speaker at the International Wine Business and Investment Forum held as part of the Great Wine Capitals General Assembly in Melbourne in November.
Lawson’s presentation identified a number of untapped international wine markets such as Brazil where he believed new world producers such as Australia could dominate and grow their share of the global wine market.
He cited Australian success in the UK as an example of good brand management begun in the 1970s in Australia.
“Australia has gone from exporting $400m worth of wine in the 1980s to $2600m worth of wine today”, he said. “Our success in the UK market comes down to our cultural understanding, technical innovation and brand management skills from an early point.
“Unlike most of the old world wine countries such as Italy, France and Spain, Australia produces more on a global scale than it consumes and punches well above its weight in exports.”
Lawson also felt that the low Australian dollar, coupled with what he described as ‘the tourist factor’ and the Sydney Olympics had all driven Australia’s recent wine export success.
He went on to urge the Victorian wine regions to promote their product using Australia as a region rather than their own smaller region as he believed the latter would not be recognised on a world stage and would only serve to confuse the market.