By James Atkinson
A campaign urging NSW consumers to demand local wines should be welcome news for the state's winemakers, who feel the industry could be doing more to push their wares.
Launched at the weekend's Sydney Cellar Door event, the 'Ask For It' campaign aims to encourage NSW residents to become as fiercely parochial about their state's wine as the other wine-producing states.
"If they can't see a NSW wine on a bottle shop shelf or on a wine list then they should ask for it," NSW Wine said.
"This initiative will support the many small, family-owned vineyards who are competing with large corporations from across the globe, and in turn offer consumers even more value and choice."
Andrew Margan, of the Hunter Valley's Margan Family Wines, recently told TheShout the region is stuck in a "chicken or the egg" situation where NSW retailers want to support the region's winemakers but believe consumers aren't interested.
"Then we've got the consumers who say to us, well we can't find it because the gatekeepers won't have it," he said.
"You need the critical mass in the marketplace where people are drinking enough of the wine that you then get enough sales that it just keeps on going by itself, until you get that, you're hand-selling."
Matt Burton, winemaker at Canberra and the Hunter's Gundog Estate, told TheShout he'd also like to see more support from the NSW off-premise.
"I always get frustrated if I'm in a tiny bottle shop and the guy's not interested because he says it's a hard sell," he said.
"I think, you've got total control here on what sells in terms of hand-selling things, just make the effort."
The Ask For It initiative aims to build on the momentum that has been created since 2008 when the NSW Wine Strategy was launched.
"The strategy has been incredibly successful to date and has seen on-premise sales of bottled NSW wine within NSW increase from $52.3 million in 2007 to $87.7 million in 2011, an increase of over 60 per cent," NSW Wine said.
"Representation of NSW wines on NSW restaurant wine lists has also improved, with a recent report showing a 22 per cent increase between 2010 and 2011."