Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 86 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
SINCE STEPPING INTO THE ROLE
IN MID-2016, DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE
SETTLED IN AS CEO?
I’ve had a year now to settle in and with the
assistance of a great leadership team and
talented people across all areas of the business
I’ve been able to have a transition that’s not
only been fun but a very rewarding experience.
We are lucky to work in such a dynamic
industry and having people around you like
the teams we have at McWilliam’s gives us the
ability to react and respond in a way to build
and deliver brands that people love.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE
HIGHLIGHTS FOR MCWILLIAM’S
One standout for the year would definitely be
our relocation from Chullora to our new home
in Pyrmont. It’s really revitalised the team to
be in such a dynamic precinct like Pyrmont/
Darling Harbour and being so close to new
up-and-coming culinary hubs like Barangaroo
is invaluable for our on-premise team.
It was also where McWilliam’s established its
first Sydney operation in the 1940s which is an
extra special coup for our family.
WITH INNOVATION AND NPD SO
IMPORTANT TO MCWILLIAM’S,
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEW
PRODUCTS LAUNCHED IN 2017?
McWilliam’s has always been considered a great
innovator in the wine industry and we work
hard to find new ways to excite consumers and
give a wider offering to our customers. We also
work with some fantastic brands overseas that
have a similar mindset and for 2017 we’ve been
able to introduce two great wines from our
distributor partner Henkell.
We introduced a fusion of fashion and
function in November with Henkell Blanc de
Blancs. Offered in a stylishly white painted (not
sleeved) bottle, this elegant wine is more than
just a pretty face. Henkell Blanc de Blancs is
a premium offering created from white grapes
sourced from famous European wine growing
regions. And through French processes and
German engineering, Henkell Blanc de Blancs
is a high quality premium sekt that is ideal as
an aperitif or an excellent accompaniment to a
The other wine that we have introduced is
the Henkell De-alcoholised sekt, a wine that
has been 20 years in the making for the Henkell
Group. It took them many years to finesse
the process in which they make a high quality
sekt and then remove the alcohol while still
retaining the fresh fruit flavours and characters
from the winemaking process without the
alcohol. We’ve thought this was a great
innovation with the shift we’ve seen towards
people being more health conscious and with
that, considering their alcohol intake. We feel
this is a premium offering for those who want
to enjoy the pleasure of drinking sparkling wine
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE
CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAVE
FACED IN 2017?
There has been a lot of change for us
throughout 2017 but we’ve come through it
as a team really well and finished with strong
results. I really value how hard the teams
across the business have worked to keep the
McWilliam’s portfolio top of mind within the
market and I’m excited to build on this drive
for the year to come.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAJOR
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MCWILLIAM’S
I think there are some big trends globally that
we at McWilliam’s are looking to build upon but
also local trends that we feel have great potential
for growth. Firstly, the rosé trend is alive and
well and for those looking for a more luxurious
option, Champagne rosé is really taking off.
We are putting particular focus on Champagne
Taittinger Prestige Rosé which has been made
with 15 per cent still Pinot Noir sourced from
Grand Cru vineyards lending itself to the elegant
forest fruits taste and striking pink hue. This,
in conjunction with the Chardonnay-dominant
style of the house makes for a refreshing wine
that is something quite special.
We are also introducing Mionetto Prosecco
to Australia in time for summer for on-premise
and select independent retailers. We’ve seen
that the Australian culture of dining has
become more and more European in style and
in turn the aperitif is becoming more integrated
within a meal. Prosecco has been a long-
established aperitif in the Italian market and
with Mionetto’s elegant and refreshing flavour
profile makes it the perfect way to start a meal
or your evening.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIG
WINE TREND FOR 2018?
I think the movement of sparkling wines
becoming more than just an occasion-based
wine into something that can be enjoyed
every day is a great opportunity for some of
our distributor brands in 2018 (Champagne
Taittinger, Henkell and Mionetto). People are
embracing celebrating simple pleasures and
everyday moments with great wine instead of
hiding them away for just the right occasion,
and sparkling wines are the perfect fit for this.
They come in so many different styles and price
points that make them accessible for everyday
and every taste.
JEFF MCWILLIAM, CEO
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