Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 106 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
SEAN SHORTT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING
WINGARA WINE GROUP
WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR
WINGARA WINE GROUP IN 2017?
Wingara Wine Group exports our Australian
range to most wine consuming countries.
We’ve seen excellent performance in export
recently, which indirectly is a good thing
for domestic. Australia consumes less wine
than we produce so we need to ensure a
healthy export business to ensure a balanced
domestic market for supply and demand,
particularly with the growth in imported
wine into Australia.
Domestically, innovation has been driving
much of the category and our La La Land
range of lesser known varieties has seen
significant growth, particularly for Pinot Gris
and Malbec. We have recently added a Pinot
Noir Rosé and Vermentino, targeted at the on-
premise and independent retail trade.
Product differentiation has also been key,
ensuring that in the $15-$25 range we have
exclusive ranges with the Katnook brand to
reduce friction between the channels. The
Freixenet brand that we import from Spain
continues to blossom in the market, driven by
a combination of new product development
with the addition of two styles of Sangria,
personalisation with limited edition ‘skins’,
and premiumisation with the addition of a
An obvious lowlight for us in 2017 was
the sudden passing of our senior Katnook
winemaker Wayne Stehbens in November, after
38 years at the helm. Wayne was a charismatic
and talented winemaker, so this is a huge loss
to the company, as well as to the broader wine
community in Coonawarra.
WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE WILL
BE THE MAIN CHALLENGES AND
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WINGARA IN
THE YEAR AHEAD?
The market is becoming more fragmented.
Long gone are the days when one brand fits
all channels. Managing pricing and ensuring a
differentiated product offering will continue to
be a challenge, however we are confident that
we are nimble enough to trade in all areas.
Across the world the wine market is chasing
the millennials. Their buying habits are noticeably
different to baby boomers – when they shop, how
they shop etc. They cannot be ‘marketed’ to in the
traditional manner and they are more sceptical,
wanting authenticity and customisation.
Prosecco and rosé have seen a meteoric
rise the last 24 months and will continue
to grow. There is a noticeable demand for
softer, lighter styles of reds and Pinot Gris/
Grigio will continue to climb the preference
ladder in white wines. At Wingara, we started
planting alternative varieties such as Malbec,
Tempranillo, Pinot Grigio over eight years ago
at both our Deakin and Katnook vineyards.
We have brought in a Prosecco under the
Freixenet brand, a pale-dry rosé under La
La Land and we continue to do trials on
alternative varieties and wine styles.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR IMMEDIATE
FOCUS IN 2018?
A new Senior Winemaker at Katnook
Coonawarra will commence after vintage 2018.
We are grateful to have Greg Clayfield act as
our vintage winemaker, as he brings decades of
experience and talent to the winemaking helm.
We anticipate the style of Katnook will evolve,
while maintaining our commitment to capture
the essence of Coonawarra.
In the broader context, Wingara has several
strategic partnerships which showcase our
wines to a targeted audience across different
arts and culture offerings. This year, we are into
our 10th year as Opera Australia’s official wine
(Katnook), our third year with The Arts Centre
Melbourne (Azahara) and a new partnership
with ACMI (Australian Centre of the Moving
Image) at Federation Square Melbourne
(Deakin Estate). We find the brand recognition
resulting from these partnerships strongly
supports our distributors’ efforts, which in turn
enhances sales domestically.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE
WINE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE
DISCUSSING IN 2018?
The Australian wine industry has never been
at a more exciting, yet challenging juncture.
Export will continue to be of vital importance
to all large and medium sized wineries. With
two consecutive short harvests in Europe. As
well as reduced harvests in Chile and the USA
– key markets are looking at Australia to fill
some of the supply gaps.
The domestic market will continue to be
highly competitive with imports, with new
entrants challenging established brands. The
range of brands and wines within chains,
independents and HORECA will continue to
diversify. The market is not homogenous and
so product differentiation is required.
Water availability and rising energy costs
will affect growers and wineries. Grapes are
competing with other agricultural products
which deliver higher returns. We are seeing
consumers moving towards the nascent
categories of organic and sustainable wines,
possibly as part of millennial ‘mindfulness’.
From a marketing perspective, the constantly
changing face of social media remains a
challenge for the wine and all industries. What
do consumers want and how can we deliver
appropriately and cost effectively?
We are confident of maintaining overall
sales growth in both the domestic and export
markets and look forward to the challenges and
rewards that 2018 is sure to bring.
“PROSECCO AND ROSÉ
HAVE SEEN A METEORIC
RISE THE LAST 24
MONTHS AND WILL
CONTINUE TO GROW.
THERE IS A NOTICEABLE
DEMAND FOR SOFTER,
LIGHTER STYLES OF
REDS AND PINOT GRIS
GRIGIO WILL CONTINUE
TO CLIMB THE
IN WHITE WINES.”
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