SA wine club helps generate $1.2 million in sales

SA Trade Minister, Nick Champion, Elena Brooks, director and head winemaker, Dandelion Vineyards and Patron Tony Love at Eastend Cellars. Image courtesy South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club.

The South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club (SAWAC) has helped 45 South Australian wines break into key Asia-Pacific markets, generating $1.2 million in sales since the initiative was established 12 months ago.

Following early success, the program will expand from 27 wine importers in five countries to 41 importers in seven countries in its second year.

The two new markets – Vietnam and India – will join chapters already set up in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

SAWAC provides a central platform for SA companies to connect with global wine importers and retailers, driving new deals and export growth back home.

Importers signed up to the program are committed to adding new SA wines to their portfolios and act as global ambassadors for the State’s wine sector.

Vietnam is emerging as a key export destination amid strong growth in wine sales, with around two thirds of Australian wine shipped to Vietnam coming from South Australia and SA exports growing by 6.5 per cent in the year ending June 2023.

McLaren Vale-based Dandelion Vineyards, a SAWAC participant, will seek to enter this market after securing sales with a wine importer in Singapore through the program. Plans to crack the Hong Kong market in the next year are also underway.

India is another emerging market – wine consumption is set to reach 55.5 million litres by 2025, up from 29.2 million litres in 2020, fuelled by a rising middle class. A free trade agreement with heavily reduced tariffs on premium wine now in effect is expected to further support South Australian producers.

Led by Patrons and renowned wine authorities, James Halliday AM and Tony Love, SAWAC was launched as part of the Government’s Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program and to help expand the local industry’s global footprint.

South Australian wine exports totalled $1.3 billion in the year ending June 2023 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, making up 64 per cent of the total value of Australian wine exports.

“We established this program to help South Australian wines enter and grow in new markets, and that’s exactly what it’s doing, said Nick Champion, South Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment.

“Having leading wine importers across the Asia-Pacific region connect with so many local producers is another sign of global confidence in our world-class industry.

“Buoyed by its success, we’re expanding the South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club to target two new and emerging markets.

“With a combined population in excess of 1.5 billion, there is a clear opportunity to further tap into both of these markets as their middle classes continue to grow.”

“It’s been great being part of a program where the importers you are introduced to are genuinely interested in creating a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with you,” said Elena Brooks, director and head winemaker, Dandelion Vineyards.

“We had tried to find an importer to work with in Singapore previously, but with over 700 importers in market, it was hard to tell who was serious.

“With the wine ambassador program the vetting has been done for us, so we can be confident that we are speaking to importers who are genuinely seeking to add new wines to their portfolio, and who like us, are interested in finding the right partner.

“I often say, choosing an importer is like getting married – you are in it for the long run.”

Tony Love, South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club Patron, said:

“In its inaugural 12 months, the South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club has been at the forefront of introducing the best of South Australia’s wines and producers to our Asia-Pacific partners, building lasting trade relationships with our firsthand expertise and extensive cover across all of the state’s major regions.

“I am proud to have been part of the program in my role as co-patron, educator, and curator of an exciting range of experiences aimed at growing new-to-market brands, distribution, sales and market presence in these developing markets.

“We already are seeing promising results and I’m excited to continue building on those commercial outcomes as we carry on the program in the next year.”

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