By James Atkinson
The new executive team of McWilliam's Wines is refocusing the company on a simplified portfolio featuring more wines that command higher price points, according to CEO Rob Blackwell.
Blackwell, who joined McWilliam's 16 months ago, spoke exclusively to TheShout following a recent tasting by media of 21 wines from across the company's expansive regional portfolio.
He said it was telling that the majority of wines the company had chosen to showcase were priced around the $30 to $40 mark.
Blackwell said this continues the evolution of McWilliam's, which after starting out as a maker of fortified wines, produced a large proportion of its table wines under the $10 price point.
"We are trying to move our brand architecture up and produce more quality wines against the $30 and $40 price points," he said.
"We're also trying to create some unique on-premise wines as well – a lot of our direction is trying to create wines specific to channels."
Blackwell said this meant the creation of a differentiated wine portfolio for on-premise accounts, national retail outlets and the various cellar doors.
He said another initiative of the executive team, five out of seven of whom have joined the business in the last 12 months, is to create a simplified portfolio that is headed around regionality.
He said McWilliam's has historically had "a lot of brands and a lot of SKUs" that have proven difficult for consumers to navigate.
Further details will be revealed soon on the streamlined portfolio, which Blackwell said will also include more contemporary labels on some SKUs.
"We've probably left a lot of the younger generations behind. If you're going along to a dinner party, you're probably not going to pick one of our lower end value wines, because they don't look modern enough."
"It's very competitive out there now, we want to make sure we've got the right shelf presence."