|Margaret River, Western Australia|
Even as the Australian wine industry battles to overcome these significant challenges, consumers continue to hear descriptors like 'new' and 'innovative', or 'generous' and 'easy going' to portray its wines. I know that under the umbrella of their Guarantee of Quality there are the Geographical Indication(GI) designations, similar to the EU appellation system. And, that the Australians are responsible for quality wines in a box packaging, as well as wines sealed by freshness guarantee screw caps. With a domestic per-capita wine consumption rate considerably higher than ours, the Australians still manage to export the vast majority of what they annually produce. For more than a decade, their successful Strategy 2025, has focused on growing Australia into a targeted $4.5 billion preeminent global wine export leader by volume and quality. But what else could they do to overcome these recent industry challenges?
Australia continues to lead the world in wine science, and also produces iconic wines that are among the best in the world. They have also ingrained standards of value wines into our conscience, like Jacob's Creek or so-called 'critter wines'. But perhaps the most meaningful and important effort today is comprehensively displayed on the WineAustralia web site. Australia is hitting on all cylinders as they currently employ a disciplined strategy to raise awareness of their fine, widely available products. Marketing to improve image, to increase agreeable price points, and introduce a wider range of wines to global consumers, Wine-Australia, has launched a brand message with an implied assurance at every price-point of consistently better quality. This focused effort includes these framework 'personalities':
- Brand Champions offer a strong premium brand message, supported by quantity and accessibility (i.e. Jacob's Creek).
- Generation Next wines are socially innovative products in packaging or marketing(i.e. Clare Valley screw-cap initiative). Note: see blog entry 02/09/11 Quality Innovations Down Under.
- Regional Heros, are wines from somewhere, with an association between region/style/variety(i.e. Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills).
- Landmark Wines initiative recognizes leading high-profile wines of inherent quality and world wide reputation(i.e. Penfolds Grange).
Among the recently announced Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 Regional Trophies were the following Australian quality wine values:
- McWilliams Mount Pleasant Cellar Release Elizabeth Semillon 2006 Hunter Valley
- Tesco Finest Tingleup Vineyard Riesling 2010 Margaret River
- Bird in Hand, Two in the Bush Shiraz, Mt. Lofty Ranges 2009 Adelaide Hills
- Catching Thieves Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River 2010 Western Australia