In the year ended December 2016, Australian wine exports to Asia (excluding mainland China) were valued at $355 million - equal to the value of exports to the UK.
While the opportunities for commercial growth are promising, success in this region also requires a great deal of preparedness, commitment to the market, a long-term strategy and patience, particularly given the various languages and cultures of Asia that are unfamiliar to many Australians. We have conducted an Asian Cultural Workshop for Export Success and a series of blogs and podcasts are available via our website which provide cultural tips and information to know to operate successfully in this market.
There are plenty of opportunities that exist across the broader Asian market, with different levels of maturity and accessibility across Wine Australia’s focus countries of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These countries in particular have higher levels of wine consumption than other parts of Asia and this translates into greater understanding of wine and greater potential for appreciation of Australia’s fine wine offering. In the 2016 calendar year, there was double-digit growth in wine exports above A$10 per litre in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
In some of our focus markets in the Asian region, Australia commands significant market share. We need to maintain our market share as competitors also become more active. With the benefit of a number of free trade agreements now in place (including South Korea and Japan), now is the time to maximise opportunities in the region.
Wine Australia offers a range of activities designed to excite and educate wine professionals across Asia of the quality, style and current directions of Australia’s fine wine. Trade tastings and shows such as the Australian Grand Tastings in Tokyo and Seoul (co-hosted by our partner Austrade) as well as Vinexpo Hong Kong have been effective in putting Australian wine’s ‘best foot forward’ in the minds of key trade whilst also achieving commercial success for participating brands.
Our education initiatives focus on delivery of relevant, up to date information. Our foundation program is delivered by educators in partner wine schools and our seminar series delve into specific Australian wine regions and varieties.
We’ll continue to maintain an active social media presence in Japan with market-specific, tailored content in the local language.
Over the last 12 months Wine Australia has run a number of trade and consumer activities in the domestic market. One of our core activities is facilitating Aussie Wine Month – the biggest annual celebration of Australian wine. In 2016 there were more than 250 activities across Australia during May, celebrating the diversity of our wine and regions – we hope to grow this event to be even bigger in 2017.
Wine Australia will continue to work with the ‘gatekeepers’ of the wine sector and build relationships with key influencers to nurture greater awareness and an increasingly positive opinion of Australian wine among local consumers.
We are supporting The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Melbourne in 2017, which is an exciting opportunity to showcase a diverse range of fine Australian wine to the most influential food and wine people in the world. As part of this partnership we will also be hosting the world’s leading sommeliers in Australia to discover more and experince our wine dynamic wine culture.
We continue to support Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Wine List of the Year Awards by sponsoring the ‘Best Representation of Australian Wine’ on a wine list. This award acknowledges those in the on-premise community who are actively supporting Australian wine. Along with our sponsorship of the Court of Master Sommeliers, we use this opportunity to solidify our relationships with key on-premise influencers and support their ongoing development.
Wine Australia continues its education platforms for on-and off-premise trade with its Wine Education Program. The Wine Education series takes place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, with over 100 people from the wine trade attending.