By Amy Looker

The HKTDC International Wine and Spirits Fair demonstrated to Australian wineries the tough competition from European and South American producers for wine exports to the Asian market. 

Cameron Ferguson, general manager of Australian Vintage Limited, told TheShout that while Australian wineries are doing a great job of representing themselves, they also need to look to other producers in Chile and Argentina in order to gauge how high the bar is being set.   

"I first came three years ago and, while I missed last year's show, I can't get over the sheer size of it and I honestly believe this is going to become one of the biggest wine trade fairs in the world," he said.

"One of the best things is you can also see what other countries are doing well – and they're definitely branding themselves brilliantly. 

"Argentina and Spain look fantastic and Australia really needs to match them in terms of how well they're branding themselves. Wine Australia has done a great job, but we need to remember that we're competing heavily with other countries and our currency also plays a major factor in how appealing we are to international buyers." 

Voyager Estate's sales and marketing manager, Fiona Findlay, said this was the winery's first time being involved under the A+ Wine Australia brand at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair.  

"This is our first experience being part of the Wine Australia stand and they've certainly been helpful putting all the logistics together, so from an execution point of view they've made everything really easy. Wine Australia is also running a whole lot of seminars and masterclasses which is fantastic for our brand and gives us really good exposure," Findlay told TheShout.

"One reason we're here is to show our support for the local market – we take Hong Kong very seriously – and the other reason is that we're looking into the China market. Obviously we want to meet some potential distributors and gain a better understanding of how to export into China," she said.

Robert Oatley Vineyards were also part of the Wine Australia stand, with deputy executive chairman, Chris Hancock, explaining that it was the ideal way for the wine brand to gauge the Asian market.

"The market in China particularly is starting to mature, to a point where it's making sense to come in with branded products. It has been a somewhat dysfunctional market in disarray for some time now, quite a dangerous market to play in unless you know exactly what you're doing," Hancock said.  

"We think that it's time to move so we're here to put our toe in the water and learn as much as we can about the market before we begin to move forward."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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1 Comment

  1. Hummmmmuum, if anything has been somewhat dysfunctional and in disarray for some time now, its been the educational systems such as Adelaide Universities faculty of wine business which consult the Australian wine industry. For students who have studied overseas, as well as at other Australian business programs, Adelaide University is embarrassedly far behind the rest of the world in regards to exciting and innovative branding/marketing ideas, it also lacks in providing any functional course in management. Ironically good leadership/management and innovative marketing & branding is not something that the Australian wine industry is currently known for. I guess to sum it up, the University of Adelaide is closing its doors on its undergraduate wine business program…if you can’t successfully manage and marketing your own brand – how can you consult to the rest of the wine industry? Better ideas on marketing and branding are desperately needed in Australia and they won’t be found from our university system, the wine industry will most likely have to take advantage of its high dollar and utilize it by getting ideas from overseas…especially in those countries that it wants to be successful in!

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