Canada’s top buyers tour Australian wine regions

Image courtesy Margaret River Wine

Wine Australia has recently wrapped up the second of two visits to Australia from Canadian monopoly buyers – the SAQ (Societe des alcools du Quebec) and the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) – with support from the Australian Government’s Agricultural Trade and Market Access Corporation (ATMAC) Program.

The visits were designed to fulfill Wine Australia’s core marketing strategies of building export markets, and increasing the demand and premium paid for Australian wine.

Both the SAQ and the LCBO category teams had specific, and different, guidelines for the types of wines they were interested in tasting, and Wine Australia facilitated the itineraries through a series of submission opportunities for wineries.

Regional visits covered Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Riverland, Yarra Valley and Tasmania – and were supplemented by tastings in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

The SAQ itinerary featured more than 400 wines from over 100 wineries, either through in-person visits or regional tastings, while the LCBO team met with over 100 wineries and tasted close to 500 wines.

“The Australian Government is continuing to help our agriculture industries access new markets and strengthen market presence,” said Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt.

“Canada is an important market for the sector, with Australian wine exports to Canada in 2023 valued at $143.2 million, and these visits are an important step in expanding wine trade with Canada and growing that value further.”

Feedback from both visits reinforced the quality and diversity of Australian wine, and the people and places that make it special.

SAQ’s Directeur de Compte, Nouveau-Monde & Ameriques, Marc-Olivier Rail said that the visit was beneficial both in building new relationships and strengthening existing partnerships.

“Being able to get a real sense of place, to understand the wine regions, the culture helps us promote and market better the Australian wine category in Quebec,” said Rail.

“I was able to acknowledge the great quality of the wine production, its large varietal, the wide diversity, as well as a wine movement pushing the boundaries with a refreshing approach about winemaking. I was also amazed by the importance sustainability is taking with everyone I had the chance to meet. I look forward to promoting our new partnership and continuing to work with our successful ones on the market. I am sincerely thankful to Wine Australia for making this trip possible.”

Wine Australia’s general manager of marketing, Paul Turale, said that the visits would have “significant” impact commercially.

“Having buyers of this calibre in the country, tasting this number of wines, should deliver immediate and long-term benefits to the Australian category in Canada. The engagement provided an opportunity to demonstrate the changing face of Australian wine – evolving styles, emerging varieties and innovative winemaking – and how a refreshed assortment of Australian wine might benefit their businesses.”

Wine Australia will continue to work with the SAQ and the LCBO to enhance their assortment of Australian wine and support the category through programming and education.

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