More Australian wineries bound for the US

Australian wineries seeking to enter the world’s largest wine market will have additional support following new investments from the South Australian Department for Trade and Investment, Wine Victoria and Wines of Western Australia into Wine Australia’s US Market Entry Program.

The US Market Entry Program is a business matching program for wineries, with Wine Australia’s team providing guidance on compliance, pricing, logistics and marketing, as well as assisting wineries in finding routes to market, either through importers, brokers or direct import orders with retailers.

Through the new investments, wineries in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia may be able to recover 50 per cent of the participation fee for the program. In the 2023–24 Market Entry Program, the Government of South Australia is funding 50 per cent of participation costs for 30 spots, Wine Victoria for 20 spots, and Wines of Western Australia for 5 spots.

Wine Australia regional general manager Americas Aaron Ridgway said the successful wineries are set to benefit from the current growth and premiumisation of the Australian category in the US.

“We’re delighted to have the support from South Australian Department for Trade and Investment, Wine Victoria and Wines of Western Australia to help wineries enter this highly competitive market,” he said.

“The timing has never been better. There are more Australian wineries exporting to the US than there have been in more than 10 years, including at higher price points, which is contributing to a more diverse, premium and resilient category.

“This is also helping to demonstrate the variety of wine from Australia. As recently noted in the annual Australian report of US magazine Wine Spectator, ‘Australia is putting its better foot forward – and it’s up to us to pay attention.’”

Wine Australia’s Market Entry Program has a long track record of successfully matching wineries with sales partners in the US, as well as securing retail opportunities with key customers. Many former participants are now firmly established in the US and have used the program as a springboard to build their presence.

In 2022, Australian wine exports to the US increased by 13 per cent in volume to 140 million litres and it remains Australia’s largest export market by value, at AUD$390 million.

Wineries seeking to participate in the US Market Entry Program are encouraged to visit to review the costs and criteria, and submit an expression of interest by 31 March 2023.

Comments from past participants:

“The 12-month program was very well structured. It was great to have the opportunity to work with the Market Entry team, who are very experienced professionals with invaluable market insights and great industry knowledge and connections,” Andrew Thiele, Global Sales Director at Knappstein Winery in the Clare Valley said.

“We found the program very helpful in navigating through the complexities of the US market and formulating correct long-term strategies for our brand.

“At the end of the program, we have not only shipped some volume of wines that exceeded our initial expectation, but also have commenced a hopefully long-term supply relationship with a partner in the US market.

“We would highly recommend Australian wine producers who are new to the US market and interested to enter the market, consider joining the program.”

“The size and complexity of the US market appeared daunting for a family-owned boutique Australian producer, and we were never quite sure where to start. Wine Australia’s US Market Entry Program has made it possible for Tellurian to consider expanding to the US,” Daniel Hopkins, General Manager Tellurian Wines said.

“The research by the Market Entry team meant we had productive meetings in key markets with interested importers and distributors who had been well briefed and provided with all the background information about our brand and our offer.

“It was like speed dating where the couple had already researched their prospective partner before meeting! Despite the current economic challenges, we shipped our first order to the US late in the year, and our importer is already preparing for the second shipment,”

“McHenry Hohnen sent our first shipment to the US within a year of joining the Market Entry Program,” Blair Poynton, Sales Manager McHenry Hohnen said.

“Their US-based team offered incredible, tailored support throughout the process from sending our first samples through to signing with our new importer.

“The US market is obviously a diverse and complex one, its regulatory system also. Having advocates on the ground to get our wines to the right prospective customers and to provide insight was invaluable.”


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