In the 2022 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Dean Carroll, CEO of Brown Family Wine Group, celebrated the multiple achievements of the company during a tough year.

Appraising last year, Brown Family Wine Group’s (BFWG) CEO, Dean Carroll, does not mince his words: “It’s fair to say we have experienced a mixed year in 2021.”

Last year also brought success and progress for BFWG, most notably with the company’s recognition as Pinot Noir Producer of the Year at the Tasmanian Wine Show.

“Since acquiring vineyards in Tasmania some 10 years ago, we have been obsessed with the great source Tasmania is for Pinot Noir,” says Carroll.

“To be recognised as Tasmanian Pinot Noir Producer of the Year was a great acknowledgement of the investment, innovation and work that has gone into the Tamar Ridge and Devil’s Corner labels.

“In December 2021, we completed the redevelopment of our Devil’s Corner cellar door on the east coast of Tasmania, and there is little doubting this is one of the great wine sites of Australia, if not the world.”

Looking ahead to 2022, Carroll believes that an immediate challenge will be meeting staffing requirements for the grape harvest, and the company’s cellar doors, with movement restrictions, a loss of overseas labour and vaccine mandates taking effect. And when asked what BFWG’s immediate focuses were for 2022, top of the list was employee welfare.

Regarding the export market, Carroll has a positive outlook, despite ongoing issues with the Chinese market.

“We have some terrific export opportunities emerging. With China’s change in direction, our emphasis has expanded to other key Asian markets, as well as the USA. We are reconsidering our prospects in the UK, which will be helped significantly by the recent Free Trade Agreement,” he said.

Carroll saves the last word for the team at BFWG, and said: “Our people are key at Brown Family Wine Group and I have total admiration for the resilience, work ethic and camaraderie they’ve shown through the last 12 months.

“We are very proud of our Great Place to Work accreditation reflecting the values and culture we strive for at the company.”

Wine on the cusp of transition

Carroll believes that the coming years will see major changes to the world of wine, as the industry evolves to meet new challenges of the environment and changing customer tastes.

Premiumisation and the growth of the no and low alcohol category are two trends Carroll has tipped to continue.

“That great challenge is also the source of our greatest opportunity, as if we are able to forecast accurately the translation of behaviour we really can benefit as we’ve previously shown with wines like Prosecco, Moscato and Cienna,” he said.

“Locally, as a category leader, we are excited to develop and rejuvenate some wine categories that we think meet a more promiscuous beverage consumer.”

Read more from the 2022 National Liquor News Leaders Forum here.

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