Australian producers are fighting back against a growing perception in the UK that their wines are bland and lacking in diversity, according to industry leaders at this week’s annual trade tasting.
Three record harvests in succession have exacerbated the country’s wine surplus problem, which is leading to further discounting in its key UK market.
Michael Paul, MD of Western Wines, said the surplus was distorting the way Australian wine was perceived by UK consumers. “It is submerging all the diversification that the country can produce,” he said.
“The perception is that it is one bland, homogenous style - which consumers do like - but the Australian image of being vibrant and having good NPD could disappear under a wave of discounting. It’s a real issue. The irony is that Australia is producing more diverse and higher quality wines than ever.”
At the annual Australia Day tastings this week, producers put more emphasis on regionality and also revealed plans to become bigger players in the UK’s booming rosé market.
“Australia has definitely missed a trick with rosé, but we are catching up,” said Helen McGinn, marketing manager for wine producer McGuigan Simeon, which has developed a rosé that it hopes will fit into its Gold or Gold Reserve range for the multiples.
Paul Henry, the UK’s regional marketing manager for Wine Australia, said research carried out in the summer of 2004 had highlighted huge potential for rosé in the UK. “Some producers responded at the time, but others have taken longer. A good example of a quick response was Jacob’s Creek with Shiraz rosé. This has been a big success and I think it will be our brand champion.
“We see further opportunities with rosé. At the moment, most rosé sales in the UK seem to be driven by Blossom Hill.”
Sonya Hook