Where do we go from here?: Future focus at 2022 Wine Industry IMPACT Conference

Photo: IMPACT Conference MC and wine writer Jeremy Oliver, Wine Tourism Australia founder Robin Shaw and Destiny Bay owner and winemaker Sean Spratt.


By Harrison Davies

The 2022 Wine Industry IMPACT Conference, hosted by WISA, has kicked off this week in Bendigo, Victoria.

Delegates from across the wine industry supply chain descended on the central Victorian city to explore this year’s theme: ‘Future proof your wine business’.

Around 140 delegates took part in the first day of the conference yesterday which explored the topics of exports, getting wines to market and innovating sales in the DTC (direct to consumer) and retail channels.

The day was MC’d by wine writer Jeremy Oliver and attendees enjoyed presentations from more than a dozen speakers throughout the day.

Notable among the speakers was incoming Australian Grape & Wine CEO Lee McLean, who gave his first presentation since the announcement of his new role.

Waiheke Island’s Sean Spratt, owner and winemaker of the Destiny Bay label, spoke about finding one’s “unfair advantage”.

He explained how his winery was inspired by pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart to find a way to make its wines unique and find a corner of the market for them to succeed.

“If you can’t be the first of your kind, find something that you can be the first in,” he said.

There were also several speakers who explored the ins and outs of the US market and how to create a better footing there for Australian wine.

Fowles Wine CEO Matt Fowles and journalist and wine tech entrepeneur Cathy Huyghe both looked at US consumers and how the stories of Australian wine can resonate in the market, or markets, in the US.

“No two wineries are the same, nor are two wine lovers,” Huyghe said.

“You cannot sell the story of Australian wine in America because no two wines have the same story, which is why it is important for wine producers to tell their stories in new markets.”

The Wine Industry IMPACT Conference continues today.


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