The inaugural ‘Aussie Wine Week’ took the US by storm this month, with sixteen winemakers travelling to New York and San Francisco to showcase their wines at a series of trade, media and consumer events.
The week–long event kicked off a suite of early activities in the US and China delivered under the Australian Government’s Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the Package) – a one-off allocation of $50 million aimed at driving demand for our wine exports and showcasing Australian wine tourism.
Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the early activities are part of a broader program of sector–led events, designed to capture the growing enthusiasm for Australian wine in our largest and growing export markets.
‘Our fine wines are gaining attention in the US, with exports growing by three per cent last year due to a rise in the average value of bottled wine exports. We’re maintaining this momentum by partnering with Australian wineries and exporters to deliver a series of early activities that showcase our diverse and quality styles of wine.’
Speaking about Aussie Wine Week, the General Manager of Marketing at Wine Australia Stuart Barclay said, ‘the event was a terrific opportunity to kick start our program of activities for the US and China markets. The event, alongside other trade activity taking place in the market, has given the US market a new thirst for Australian wine and we look forward to keeping the momentum up as we roll out our broader strategy for the Package over the next three years’.
The Aussie Wine Week activities included:
Full Circle BevCon
A three–day conference attended by 100 hand–picked influential wine buyers, retailers, sommeliers, beverage directors and journalists from key wine states in the US.
Artisans of Australian Wine Tastings
One of the big drawcards of Aussie Wine Week held in San Francisco and New York, featuring Australian winemakers, Sandra de Pury (Yeringberg), Brendan Keys (BK Wines), Timo Mayer (Timo Mayer), Kate McIntyre MW (Moorooduc Estate), Taras Ochota (Ochota Barrels) and Steve Flamsteed (Giant Steps). The Artisans event, which first took place in London in 2016, showcased small producers that are available in the market.
Benchmark Shiraz Tasting
A highlight of the week, well attended by trade and media. The event involved a sensory-focused benchmarking tasting, which looks for correlations between the sensory properties of a relatively large and diverse set of Australian Shiraz wines, their chemical profiles and the climatic regions from which the grapes were sourced. Some of the Shiraz tasted included Clonakilla, Wendouree and Henschke.
Taste of Australia event
Over 30 Australian wines were shown to millennial influencers in New York at the Taste of Australia event in Williamsburg. The event presented a cross section of classic Australian wine styles in the US$15–25 price range that are available in New York. The wines were selected to match a menu of Australian-inspired dishes created by five Australian chefs from well-known Aussie restaurants in New York. To top it all off there were also special Australian wine by the glass promotions at restaurants and bars across New York, including North End Grill, The Modern at MoMA, Burke and Wills, Flinders Lane and Grammercy Tavern.
Participating winemaker, Kate McIntyre MW from Moorooduc Estate, Mornington Peninsula, said the future for Australian wine in the US is ‘really exciting’ with ‘a lot of opportunities.’ She said ‘there’s a very educated market here so it’s a nice market to slot in our story of quality and complexity.’
Key trade and media said a diverse mix of varieties are growing in demand, with modern Chardonnays and Cabernet blends leading the charge. Wines from classic Australian wine regions like Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills have been finding an audience in restaurants and bars across New York.
Joe Czerwinski, the Managing Editor of influential US wine publication Robert Parker Wine Advocate, said ‘we are always looking for something new. It's important to have new producers, new techniques and new wines constantly innovating and keeping people excited about a category. People should drink Australian wine because it's probably not what they think it is. There's this whole new wave of producers and a whole new wave of wine styles.’
Following the official launch of the Package in August, a three–year strategy is being developed by Wine Australia, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Australian Vignerons to guide the broader program of sector–led wine export and tourism activities. In anticipation of the strategy being finalised later this year, Wine Australia received approval to commence some early activities in the US and China as the appetite for Australian wine gains momentum. Future opportunities will be communicated after the strategy is approved.
People can register to receive information as it becomes available at http://erwsp.wineaustralia.com