By Andrew Starke

Wine Australia has moved to address concerns that its relationship with Treasury Wine Estates had suffered irreparable damage following a falling out over marketing strategy in the UK.

The wine division of the Foster’s Group took the decision to withdraw it support from Wine Australia's marketing program in the UK after becoming frustrated with recent campaigns which, it felt, did not promote and represent its total portfolio of Australian brands

A spokesperson for Treasury Wine Estates told TheShout it was ‘disappointing that we’ve got to this point’ after trying to work through the issues involved with the Wine Australia UK team.

The company is still a member in other key markets, including Asia and North America (USA and Canada).

Wine Australia CEO Andrew Cheesman said Treasury Wine Estates provides support to Wine Australia via levies and is also involved in activities such as the Landmark Australia Tutorial, education programs, international visitor programs and online social media activities.

“Treasury Wine Estates has also been pro-active in supporting the A+ Australian Wine brand in Australia and during its initial preview phase last year in China, with Sue Hodder from Wynns Coonawarra Estates, part of our winemaker delegation which unveiled the new brand,” he said.

“Other brands, such as Annie’s Lane, Seppelt, T’Gallant, Coldstream Hills, Wolf Blass and Lindemans have all featured in Wine Australia activities, such as the Landmark Australia Tutorial last year and as part of our social media activities and new website.”

Cheesman said the recent ‘buzz’ and excitement generated at the UK Annual Trade Tasting in January was testament to how the new brand has been received.

“The feedback from trade, media and the wine sector representatives who attended was fantastic and guests were excited to not only taste outstanding wines but also to be meeting the people and personalities behind the wines on show – a real focus of the A+ Australian Wine brand. This creates a positive environment for all Australian brands to develop leverage,” he said.

“Wine Australia represents the entire Australian wine category in our market programs and there are opportunities for all brands to be involved in our activity. Examples include retail promotions, education activities and international visitor program whereby market program members have the opportunity to meet and showcase their brands in all categories to key influencers and buyers from our export markets.”

“We are also in discussion with Treasury Wine Estates as part of our planning cycle to achieve their return to our UK program next year.”

Wine Australia will be scheduling meetings throughout March with the major players in the sector to further develop the strategy and program activities for 2011/2012.

In a statement Treasury Wine Estates said:

“We have taken the decision to withdraw our support from Wine Australia's marketing program in the UK.

We’ve seen declining value over recent years and campaigns which do not promote and represent our total portfolio of Australian brands – for what is a considerable annual investment.

“Coupled with the recent strength of the Australian dollar, we have looked at all investments across the UK/Ireland market and continue to target those that deliver greatest return.

“It is disappointing that we’ve got to this point and it comes after some time trying to work through issues with the Wine Australia UK team.

“We’ll review our stance when we see new campaigns and planning from the newly appointed Regional Director of Wine Australia UK & Ireland and hope that we can come to a point where we see real value in direct and active involvement.

“Until then, we will continue to proudly fly the Australian flag on behalf of our own portfolio.”


The Shout Team

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

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