By James Wells
Amid criticism of Wine Australia's commitment to the China market, the organisation has demonstrated the strength of its Chinese program with two major announcements.
Over the last seven days, Wine Australia has distributed two press releases outlining recent successes in the Chinese market.
The first announced that Wine Australia won the ‘Best Wine Culture Promotion Organisation’ by Wine in China magazine for its contribution for promoting Australian wines in China and educating Chinese wine trade, media and consumers about Australian wine and winemaking.
“This award is also acknowledgement of the efforts and dedication of our small team in China across a very large market. It’s an honour to be recognised by such a prestigious publication and panel of judges in what is a very competitive market,” said Wine Australia regional manager for China, Willa Yang.
“In the past year, Wine Australia has brought Australian wine knowledge and culture to a wide population of wine professionals, media and wine lovers through our A+ Australian Wine Schools held across China. This award recognises our efforts to build the reputation of established Australian wines and raise awareness particularly of some new premium Australian wines among wine trade professionals, wine media and wine lovers.
“Given the sheer size of the market, we focus our efforts and resources on initiatives that educate the market about the quality, diversity and regionality of Australian wines and deliver the most return on investment for our industry partners,” Yang said.
Wine Australia announced yesterday that the second level of its A+ Australian Wine School will be launched this month for Chinese wine trade professionals, media and wine lovers.
The full-day intermediate course builds on the first level course introduced in 2011 and is conducted by 14 certified A+ Australian Wine educators.
The new course incorporates tastings of 12-16 wines with a focus on comparing the same variety from different regions to experience how terroir influences the wine. It also covers Australian wine history and industry development including export; diversity of grape varieties and styles in key regions, climate, soil, viticultural technology in key regions and their influence on wine styles.
So far over 4300 people have participated in the A+ Australian Wine School in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Yantai, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xiamen, Kunming and Sanya.
Wine Australia general manager of market development, James Gosper said the new level 2 program would build on the level 1 program and provide a more advanced Australian wine education.
“There’s a real thirst for Australian wine knowledge in China, so the timing is right to expand our A+ Australian Wine School program and build upon the knowledge of wine trade professionals, media and wine lovers,” Gosper said.
“The level 2 program will enable the graduates of level 1 to explore more deeply the diversity, quality and regionality of the Australian wine offering. We’ve had such positive feedback from participants who have done our highly successful Level 1 course, so it’s important we build on that positive sentiment and maintain the momentum.
“Importantly, those who have undertaken the program have become advocates for Australian wine,” he said.
According to Wine Australia, China is Australia’s fourth largest market for wine exports. Australia ranks second behind France in bottled wine exports to China, but achieves a higher average value than France. China is the biggest market for Australian bottled exports above A$7.50 per litre. More than 930 Australian wineries export to China.