By Amy Looker in Hong Kong
More independent Australian liquor retailers need to visit international wine shows such as the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) International Wine and Spirits Fair, according to the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) president, Giuseppe Minissale.
Minissale, who also heads up the Porter's Liquor chain, winner of Banner Group of the Year at the recent Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA), said that this is his fifth year attending the HKTDC event and that it provides an invaluable opportunity to gain a competitive edge on the chains.
"I've spoken to a lot of people from buying groups and I've told them about the benefit of these shows and they're all starting to come out and have a look – but there certainly aren't as many independent retailers here as there should be," Minissale told TheShout.
"The benefit of international shows like this is that it opens your eyes to what's going on around the world. Even though Australia makes fantastic wine, and I'm certainly as parochial about Australian wine as anyone, we need to get a competitive advantage against the chains – and to do that you need to start looking at shows like this in order to gauge what's going on in the world."
Minissale said that shows such as the HKTDC International Wine and Spirits Fair reinforce retailer's knowledge and give them the confidence hand-sell wines to consumers.
"The two big chains are here and they are at every major wine show, and even though they're touching base and reacquainting themselves with the market, there is never enough independent Australian retailers here," he said.
"You can sample wines from Spain here, you can go to Germany, you can go to Burgundy, you can go to Romania, you can even go to Transylvania and at the end of the day, it gives you something to talk about and it provides a benchmark for our Australian wines as well."