South Australian wineries set to make a splash in the United States

Image: Ben Watkins – Commercial Director Watkins Wines, Jo Watkins – Brand Director, Watkins, Wines, Minister Patterson, Lucy Golding, Golding Wines, Peter Saturno, owner, Longview Wines, Jamie Manson, National Sales and Export Director, Tomich Wines.

Sixteen South Australian wine producers will be supported to grow their businesses by entering and expanding into the US market through Wine Australia’s US Market Entry Program – with the South Australian Government subsidising 50 per cent of the cost.

Delivered by Wine Australia, the 12-month program is designed to educate wine producers about the technicalities of the US market, including compliance, marketing, pricing, sales, PR and logistics.

The program offers both real-world guidance and market introductions with Wine Australia providing advice on how best to approach the US market guiding clients towards like-minded customers in the US who share a wine producer’s vision and market goals.

Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said the program will provide participants with insights into one of the largest and most complex wine markets in the world.

“The United States has a three-tier distribution system and complex laws,” Minister Patterson said.

“Sixteen producers are receiving a 50% rebate off the cost of participation and will have the opportunity to gain valuable market knowledge, guidance and introductions to key importers and distributors.

“Over the last four years, Wine Australia’s US Market Entry programs have been successful in helping 75% of Australian wineries achieve first orders in the market worth a total value of $2.4 million.

“The US Market Entry Program is one of the initiatives under the Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program which aims to expand business-to-business opportunities for new-to-market companies, brand promotion and wine education for existing brands, and international trade visits, when travel is permitted.”

The SA Government’s $5.4 million Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program commenced on 1 July 2021 and will run for four years.

Just days before Christmas in 2019, the Cudlee Creek bushfire tore through Golding Wines’ Adelaide Hills property, burning 95% of its vineyards, destroying machinery, irrigation systems and infrastructure for several wine tourism experiences.

The winery then endured the impact of COVID-19 and having to close its doors during lockdown.

Founder and managing director of Golding Wines Darren Golding says the US Market Entry Program will support their winery in its efforts to diversify exports into the US market.

“We’re currently not exporting to the US which is why the program offers us a great opportunity to focus on expanding our sales into this new market,” Golding said.

“We would like to build relationships with a select number of distributors to achieve distribution in five key regions in the US, focusing on areas that are yet to be saturated by Australian wines, allowing our brand to stand out from the crowd.

“We selected the US market as we have identified that the opportunities currently available align well with our business and our plans for growth. Up until this point, we have only exported a small portion of our total production to China and Singapore.

“We feel there are also some exciting opportunities in the UK and will look to establish in the UK market in the next 12 months.”

Wine Australia’s regional general manager – Americas Aaron Ridgway believes the program makes a significant difference to South Australian wine producers looking to enter or expand into the US market.

“A place in Wine Australia’s Market Entry Program is a highly effective way to approach the unique challenges and significant opportunities in the US market,” Ridgway said.

“The program has been substantially expanded to provide more services and benefits to members and we look forward to a big year.”

Funding from the Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program led to the commencement of a three-month campaign with, the largest online wine retailer in the US, to support South Australian exporters.

Campaigns with Vivino, also in the US market, and wine retailers Majestic and Oddbins in the UK will also occur in the lead up to the busy Christmas sales period.

“Beyond the wine industry, I encourage other South Australian businesses who are looking to expand into the US market to access support from our trade and investment offices in Houston and New York by visiting to learn more about the support available to them,” Minister Patterson said.

For further information about the programs available to South Australian exporters, visit

The wine producers participating in the US Market Entry Program are:

  • Atlas Wines
  • Burge Family Wines
  • CW Wines
  • Golding Wines
  • Greenock Creek
  • Handcrafted and Redhead Studios
  • Hither & Yon
  • Hollick Estate
  • Islander Estate
  • Knappstein Wines
  • Longview Wines
  • St Mary’s Wines
  • Tomich Wines
  • Turkey Flat
  • Watkins Family Wines
  • Welland Wines

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