As part of Wine Australia's periodic regional reports Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia’s Head of Market UK & Europe, reviews the recent Nordic Roadshow and shines a light on the opportunities that are offered by these important northern European markets.
The Nordic Roadshow report
The Wine Australia team is just back from presenting premium Australian wines in 4 cities in 4 Nordic nations. Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden are key markets for Australian wine. Although some are more challenging than others they offer significant growth potential as highlighted by Sweden which grew by 26% to $23 million according to Wine Australia's MAT Report of June 2016. The restrictions of the state monopoly can make it seem more difficult to sell your wine in these markets, but there are many opportunities to work with importers and the restaurant and hotel trade. In each city we hosted a trade masterclass for 30 journalists, educators and sommeliers. These were presented by Mark Davidson, Global Education Manager for Wine Australia, and each class focused on the evolution of three of Australia’s benchmark grape varieties; Chardonnay, Grenache and Shiraz. With a broad range of styles across the regions, the reaction was positive from the audience, who were impressed with the quality of the wines.
The Nordic Roadshow: expanding wine horizons
A trade tasting in each city featured a wide range of wines presented by the local importers and wineries looking for distribution. We were joined by a number of winemakers who had made the journey from Australia to talk to the trade and the monopoly buyers where possible. A feature table of key grape varieties gave a snapshot of regional styles as an introduction to the wider tasting. We also used the opportunity of having so many wines in one place to show them to the consumers. In each city we found keen lovers of Australian wines, and those eager to learn. A new feature this year in Stockholm and Helsinki were hosted wine walks. Australian wine blogger Drew Lambert entertained groups of tasters throughout the evening, sharing his favourites and expanding their repertoires. Riku Laanti, Chairman of the Finnish Australia Business Council said,
'There were 25 Australian wineries present, providing wide variety of premium Australian wine for tasting. Tasting was complemented by exciting stories about the wineries and wine, with some great Aussie sense of humour. Our group were also provided special guidance and inside peek into Australian wine by Drew Lambert, a wine author and blogger. What a great way to spend a rainy autumn night.'
In Stockholm and Copenhagen we were hosted by the Australian Ambassador at a dinner with key media and Sommeliers. The versatility of some top quality wines was demonstrated by matching with the local cuisine. Mr Jonathan Kenna, Ambassador to Sweden, and Mr Damien Miller, Ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland, are both keen advocates of Australian wine and we were delighted to share some fine examples with them.
The Nordics: lands of opportunity for Australian wine
Wine Australia's Nordic Roadshow has highlighted the possibilities that these countries offer. In each city we visited this year trade and consumers alike were pleased to see us return with another wide range of premium Australian wines, many of which were new to the market. There are plenty of opportunities to build on the interest in New World wines in general, and Australia in particular. Laura Jewell MW
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