By Amy Looker

Robert Oatley Vineyards has picked up the distribution rights for a New Zealand winery only one week after it announced its local distribution agreement with Charles Heidsieck Champagne.

Robert Oatley Vineyards will now be the exclusive distributor for Ara Wines, a Marlborough-based winery known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Christine Pears, CEO of Ara Wines, said the long-term strategic investment and commitment that the Oatley family has made to the Australian wine industry aligns with the Todd family’s ownership of Ara Wines, which she predicts will be key to the agreement’s success.

"We see the opportunity to work with Robert Oatley Vineyards' experienced sales team across Australia as an important foundation in building our brands in all trade channels and with Australia’s premium wine consumers," Pears said.

Anthony Roberts, CEO of Robert Oatley Vineyards, agreed that the two family-owned wineries shared a similar vision for success and that the Ara portfolio would work well alongside Robert Oatley Vineyard’s own.

"Ara's philosophy of making wines with great clarity and regional expression is consistent with our own winemaking style and we see these wines as a perfect complement to our existing Robert Oatley premium wine portfolio," Roberts said.

Meanwhile, Yarra Valley-based winery, Dominique Portet, has made changes to its New South Wales distribution arrangements.

Dominique Portet, a family-owned winery that originally began making wine in Cognac in the 17th Century, has named Cogito Wines as its New South Wales distributor, taking over from Déjà Vu Wines.

Déjà Vu will retain distribution rights in the winery’s home state of Victoria, but Cogito Wines will now be responsible for Dominique Portet’s New South Wales distribution, as the company plans to push into the Sydney on-premise market.

The appointment of Cogito in New South Wales coincides with the release of the company’s flagship wines, the 2012 Dominique Portet Fontaine Rosé and the 2012 Dominique Portet Sauvignon Blanc, which winemaker, Ben Portet, says are expected to attract strong trade support leading into summer,

"My father has been making a Provencal-style Rosé since the late 1980s, salmon coloured, dry and refreshing, and it has become a benchmark. So too has our riper, textural Dominique Portet Sauvignon Blanc," Portet said.

"Both these wines are ideally suited to the vibrant Sydney bistro and wine bar scene, and we look forward to strategic growth in this market."

And over in Western Australia, Casella Wines has taken over the distribution of its own portfolio, which was previously distributed by the Casama Group and its WA arm, Lionel Samson.

Casella's Australasian sales manager, Bob Powell, said the move was made to bring distribution in house in order to simplify the winery's national distribution model.

The Shout Team

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