By James Atkinson
The return of McWilliam’s Wines to 100 per cent family ownership paves the way for the company to begin exporting its full portfolio of brands, comprising Evans & Tate, Brand’s Laira and Mount Pleasant, according to CEO Rob Blackwell.
At a recent shareholder meeting, the McWilliam’s families unanimously agreed to acquire the 10 per cent stake in the company owned by E&J Gallo Winery, which distributed the McWilliam’s brand in the key markets of China and USA.
“We’ve taken back distribution in those two key markets, but we’re still with Gallo under new agreements in Canada and select Asian territories,” Blackwell told TheShout.
“We’ve made these decisions because we see export as being a significant platform for our growth over the next ten years.”
“For us to be able to launch our four key brands across the world is going to be a game changer for McWilliam’s. There’s much stronger volume and much stronger margin opportunities in export markets.”
Blackwell said the increased emphasis on the regionality of the brands in the McWilliam’s portfolio and its premium offerings was starting to bear fruit in the domestic market.
“In a flat wine market in Australia, Evans & Tate and Brand’s Laira grew 30 per cent in FY14, so we’re pretty excited about that.”