Put simply, the United States is the world’s largest and arguably most important wine market. It’s a vitally important destination for Australian wine exports. In recent years there has been a swell of enthusiasm for Australian wine amongst trade and consumers in the United States. Our fine wines are gaining attention; in the past year exports above $10 per litre to New York have increased by an extraordinary 58 per cent.
To help capture the zeitgeist, Wine Australia recently brought together restaurants, wine buyers, media and hundreds of consumers from coast to coast for the inaugural Aussie Wine Week. A diverse range of events celebrated the category’s resurgence in the US, showcasing an unprecedented number of our regions and producers. The events were one of the first backed by the Australian Government’s Export and Regional Wine Support Package (ERWSP) funding, an exciting, one-off allocation of $50 million over four years, which aims to drive demand for our wine exports and showcase Australian wine tourism.
Aussie Wine Week was a terrific opportunity to showcase a diverse range of Australian wine to key US trade and influencers. The week of events really captured the dynamic Australian wine landscape and highlighted both big and small producers who are crafting wines of exceptional quality. We are confident that this inaugural Aussie Wine Week alongside other trade activity taking place in the market at the same time, has given the US market a new thirst for Australian wine and we look forward to keeping the momentum up.
Stuart Barclay, General Manager Marketing, Wine Australia
The US Market and the potential for Australian wine
Australian wine has had a fascinating ride in the US market in the last twenty years. There were times of plenty for Australian wineries during late 1990s and early 2000s. Rich and luscious wines entranced American wine drinkers before tastes changed and Australian wine was no longer the flavour of the month. Now after some leaner years the tide has started to turn. This time the Australian wine community is playing the long game, charming the US with a diverse range of wines of high quality and striking personality.
The future for Australian wine in the US is really exciting I think. There's a lot of opportunities…There's a very educated market here so it's a nice market to slot in our story of quality and complexity…
Kate McIntyre MW, Moorooduc Estate, Mornington Peninsula
Greater New York has been at the epicentre of the growth of Australian wine in the USA over the past five years. 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. While our artisanal winemakers have been gaining fans with minimal intervention wines of place and character. The future for premium Australian wine looks brighter than ever in New York.
The Australian Wine Revolution
San Francisco is leading the charge on the West Coast of the USA with similar trends in growth and demand. San Francisco is home to one of the most exciting food and wine scenes in the US and in the on-trade Australian wines achieve the second highest average price after France. The number of outlets stocking any Australian wine and average number of wines per outlet are low compared with France, the USA and Italy – but the figures are high enough to be a base for building on.
These two key markets can be seen as bellwethers for Australian wine’s fortunes in the US market. The interest in Australian wine – from an unprecedented number of regions and producers – is higher than ever before. The next challenge is to convert this increased interest into increased consumption of premium Australian wine in America. Enter Aussie Wine Week, an exciting step in further enhancing the reputation of Australian wine and building credibility by targeting and engaging media, consumers and key influencers.
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.
Joe Czerwinski, Managing Editor of Robert Parker Wine Advocate
A true taste of Australia for San Francisco and New York
Aussie Wine Week kicked off with 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 United States. This was followed by successful Artisans of Australian Wine events in San Francisco and New York, which saw 16 visiting winemakers pour their wines for influential trade and media.
The Artisans event, which first took place in London in 2016, showcased small producers that are available in the US market. Winemakers pouring their wines at this dynamic event included 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).
Artisans of Australian Wine in New York, Aussie Wine Week 2017
Another highlight of the week was the Benchmark Shiraz Tasting in New York, attended by key trade and media. Dr John Blackman and Wes Pearson led the sensory-focused benchmarking tasting, highlighting our fine Australian wines and exceptional pedigree for world-leading grape and wine research. The tasting looked 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. Classic Australian wines from Clonakilla, Wendouree and Henschke were included in the tasting, reinforcing our reputation as the world’s pre-eminent country for Shiraz.
In a delightful change of pace in one of the world’s style and trend capitals, over 30 Australian wines were shown off to millennial influencers at the Taste of Australia event in Williamsburg. The event, presented in conjunction with Convicts NYC, showcased a cross section of classic Australian wine styles in the $15 – 25USD price range available in New York. The wines were selected to match a menu of Australian inspired dishes created by five Australian chefs from well-known Australian restaurants in New York; The Lucky Bee, Burke and Wills, Two Hands, Flinders Lane and Butler.
Taste of Australia in New York, Aussie Wine Week 2017
To top it off there were special Australian wine by the glass promotions at top restaurants and bars across New York including North End Grill, The Modern at MoMA, Burke and Wills, Flinders Lane and Gramercy Tavern.
The inaugural Aussie Wine Week captured the palpable sense of excitement around the Australian wine category in the US. The perceptions of key opinion leaders and influencers in the wine trade have well and truly changed. Where once a monochromatic vision of Australian wine pervaded now the kaleidoscope that is Australian wine is clear. Realistically we’re only just beginning the journey to Australia being recognised as the world’s pre-eminent wine producer in the US market. There’s a heck of a lot of hard work to be done. But there’s little question that the opportunities for Australian wine in this important wine market are better than ever. Exciting times for the world’s most exciting wine producing country.
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