By James Wells
Wine Australia has responded to a recent claim by local wineries that it provided a lack of support for an exhibition in China last month, by claiming that it is heavily supporting the market with events and activities.
In an article published by TheShout following the recent ProWine China event in Shanghai, Australian wineries claimed they received no support from Wine Australia other than a short visit from a representative despite having three employees dedicated to this market. The Australian wineries also criticised the Chinese office of Wine Australia for providing no assistance in relation to the translation of tasting notes and other marketing materials for distribution at the event.
In a statement supplied to TheShout, Wine Australia manager of communications and public relations, Louisa Aherne, has defended the Chinese office and outlined the activities that it is currently undertaking in the market.
“Our China team, which is made up of three hard working professionals, works to educate and engage the wine trade, media and consumers in China through trade shows, educational initiatives including A+ Australian Wine Schools and the A+ Australian Wine Specialist Programs, media, social media, retail promotions, tasting roadshows and masterclasses. Given the sheer size of the market, we focus our efforts and resources on initiatives that deliver the most return on investment for our levy payers and user-pays partners,” Aherne said.
“There are more than 10 large scale wine shows held in various cities around mainland China and in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, with the resources we have, we are unable to commit to all of them. Instead, Wine Australia participates in well-established events with a proven track record based on feedback from exhibitors, the Chinese wine trade and Australian wineries," she said.
"In the last two years, we have focused our efforts and resources on the following trade shows in China and Hong Kong: Vinexpo Asia Pacific 2012, Hong Kong Nov 2012, Food & Hospitality China (FHC), Shanghai 13-15 Nov 2012, China National Food, Wine & Spirits Fair, Chengdu (Chengdu Fair) 28-31 March 2013, Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair, Hong Kong 7-9 Nov 2013, China National Food, Wine & Spirits Fair, Chengdu (Chengdu Fair) – TBC based on the final subscription 28-31 March 2014, SIAL 2014, Shanghai 13-15 May 2014 and Vinexpo Asia Pacific 2014, Hong Kong 27-29 May 2014.”
Aherne said Wine Australia’s strategy, focus and activities in China are guided by Australian wineries as well as the China Australian Wine Importers Network (CAWIN), which consists of wine importers of all size.
“In addition to the China-specific trade events, Wine Australia also hosted Savour Australia 2013, Australia’s first global wine forum, in Adelaide in September, which involved nearly 800 delegates including Australian wine producers and wine trade and media representatives from around the world including a strong contingent from China. This was a major undertaking and involved our global team from around the world, many of whom were hosting Savour visits throughout wine regions up until October,” she said.
ProWine China 2014 under consideration
Aherne pointed out that when Wine Australia coordinates an Australian presence at trade shows, it does so on a user-pays basis.
"In other words, we invite winery and/or regional partners to join us to participate. We require a minimum number of partners to be able to make it possible to create a strong Australian wine presence. Therefore, we need to provide trade event opportunities that will be of interest and benefit to a wide range of Australian wine producers to show the diversity, quality and regionality of Australia’s wine offering and secure the appropriate level of industry involvement," she said.
"Also, we wouldn’t commit to an event that hasn’t been tried and tested before. Our team in China led by Willa Yang, is constantly assessing trade events to make sure Australian wine has a strong presence at those that are most relevant and beneficial. If we start to get feedback and see positive results from trade shows that we’re not currently involved in, then we would certainly consider getting involved in the future if we could see the potential benefits.”
In a separate piece of correspondence, Wine Australia general manager of market development, James Gosper, has confirmed that he is evaluating the merits of participating in ProWine China in Shanghai in 2014. Gosper has confirmed Wine Australia’s participation at ProWein in Dusseldorf in March 2014 including a 152 square metre exhibition booth featuring a number of Australian wineries.