Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 56 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
CAMERON FERGUSON, GENERAL MANAGER AUSTRALASIA & NORTH AMERICA
AUSTRALIAN VINTAGE LIMITED
WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR
AVL IN 2017?
A key highlight was our wine show
performance throughout the year, where
the quality of our wines continued to be
recognised on the national and international
stage. A standout was the recent Winestate
Wine of the Year Awards, where McGuigan
The Shortlist Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
2016 was announced Winestate ‘Wine of the
Year’, and Nepenthe Winemaker’s Selection
Adelaide Hills Grüner Veltliner 2016 was
judged Alternate White Wine of the Year.
Quite some achievement, and one of which
we are incredibly proud. Furthermore,
Nepenthe was awarded the Trophy for Best
Sauvignon Blanc of Show at the Hong Kong
International Wine and Spirits Competition
for the Nepenthe Pinnacle Petraea Sauvignon
Blanc 2016, triumphing over well-regarded
Sauvignon Blanc from all over the world.
It’s a particularly pleasing result, and a great
boost for premium Australian and Adelaide
Hills Sauvignon Blanc which continues to
out-perform New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at
premium price points.
Driving brand awareness has been a real
focus, and remains a ‘game changer’ for the
brand and our business. When we embarked
on the ‘Bring a McGuigan’ campaign we
did so with the aim to shake up the way in
which wine is advertised, driving humour and
irreverence into what has been a traditional
medium to date. The result was a fantastic
vindication of what we set out to do.
HOW HAS AVL BOUNCED
BACK FROM THE IMPACT OF
UNFAVOURABLE EXCHANGE RATES
EARLY IN 2017?
Undoubtedly exchange rates into the United
Kingdom have been a challenge for some time,
and like any business exporting to the UK, it
does impact your overall business. That said,
we are staying very much focused on what we
can control, and are extremely committed to
our business in the UK. We continue to grow
our footprint in channels such as convenience,
where we have been under trading to date.
The Australian category is flat, however our
core brand McGuigan continues to grow share
and has plenty of headroom for continued
long-term growth. It’s fair to say our business
in the UK has never been in better shape and
once the currency moves favourably we are in
a terrific position to get maximum benefit.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO INVEST
IN THE CHINESE MARKET?
While we have established a footprint for
McGuigan in China through our strategic
partnership with COFCO, the agreement with
Vintage China Fund will see our remaining
core brands – including Tempus Two and
Nepenthe – secure national distribution
across China. This is an important step in the
evolution of our business in China, and we
now have a national presence for our core
portfolio of brands in what is one of our key
focus markets. In addition, the investment
has given us the opportunity to bring forward
some capital projects such as a new bottling
line, premium winery program and the next
instalment of our solar park, all of which will
deliver excellent return-on-investment and
benefit our business globally.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIG
TRENDS FOR 2018?
One that has been coming for a while is the
United States. A more favourable exchange
rate, and a growing interest in Australian wine
above US$10, has seen – and will continue
to see – a slow but steady turnaround for
the Australian category. We’ve re-entered the
premium sector of the market with Tempus
Two in the past year, and from January will be
re-introducing McGuigan into the US at a price
point north of US$10.
Premiumisation is a growing global trend,
we’re seeing this in average price point growth
in our brands. We’re really backing emerging
varietals to continue to pique interest and drive
our brands. Malbec is hot on everyone’s lips,
and we’re taking a serious position in driving
the variety in Australia.
Cross category blur between wine, beer
and spirits is one that is garnering attention,
tapping into the juggernaut that is the craft
movement. We’ve recently dipped our toe in
the water with a new brand Off The Grid,
craft wine from emerging varieties in 500ml
crown sealed beer bottles.
HOW WILL YOU ENGAGE THE
TRADE TO DRIVE SALES IN 2018?
Moving forward we’re focused on driving
sustained branded growth across all our
retail partners. A key part of this strategy is
one of differentiation, namely in the hyper-
competitive $10-$15 price segment. To that
end, we’ve worked collaboratively with all
channels in the domestic market to develop
differentiated branded solutions that enable
us to build our brands in concept with
delivering upon the strategic imperatives of
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE
INDUSTRY SHOULD BE
DISCUSSING IN 2018?
One that does warrant debate is
understanding our USP. Not as brands, but as
brand Australia. I’d like to see Wine Australia
driving this even harder. New Zealand have
well aligned USPs for example. We need the
collective industry to be thinking country
first, region second, brand third. What is
our single unifying message and how do we
collectively find a way to invest more into
market development plans for Australian
wine? We need to do a better job collectively
so Australia does not lose ground to emerging
new world wine regions.
“Cross categor y
blur between wine,
beer and spirits is
one that is garnering
into the juggernaut
that is the craft
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