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Australian wine

Australian wine is the best selling country of origin in Ireland.

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Brand Central

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11 July 2014 | 0

Australian wine is a hit; it continues to be the best selling country of origin in Ireland with 1.6 million 9L cases sold in 2013. Retailers take note; the brands featured below have all received high praise from those in the know, writes Gillian Hamill

Sunshine in a bottle

Wine critic Matthew Jukes said of Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz, that “it’s a lesson to the world in winemaking”Lindeman’s Bin range is a perfect example of the global shift towards New World wines, offering up approachable, affordable wines that win notable awards and attract critical acclaim. This year its Bin 50 Shiraz came in for some incredibly exalted praise; Matthew Jukes, writing in the 2013/14 edition of the 100 Best Australian Wines, noted that: “This inexpensive, mass-produced wine is a lesson to the world in winemaking. It is clean, fresh, varietally-precise and it doesn’t taste in any way cheap.” James Halliday, meanwhile, is particularly tickled by the Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon, rating it 90 points in the Australian Wine Companion 2012 and stating: “Exceptional value … has the bouquet, flavour and structure of a far more expensive Cabernet.”

Brimming with varietal character

Deakin Estate offers lighter, balanced and subtle wines with real regional characterDeakin Estate wines are exclusive to the independent off-trade and distributor Findlater says they provide one of the best quality-price ratios available in Ireland.

One of the key characteristics of Deakin Estate wines that sets them apart is that their fruit is entirely sourced from the Murray Darling region of North West Victoria, giving increased control over the grapes that end up in the bottle and thus greater quality and character.

The Deakin Estate believes its wines are in a different class to competitors in its price bracket; offering lighter, balanced and subtle wines with real regional character in a category where over-extracted “fruit bombs” from the generic and meaningless “South Australia” designation are pervasive.

The heart of Barossa

The Peter Lehman brand has won a number of prestigious awardsIn 1979, Peter Lehmann founded a winery based on his bravery, loyalty and commitment to Barossa and his desire to ‘do the right thing’ by protecting his mates – the independent grape growers of the Barossa. Today Peter Lehmann is one of the most recognised Australian wine brands in the world; it has won various accolades including International Winemaker of the Year 2003 and 2006 and Australian Producer of the Year 2003, 2006 and 2008.

Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Shiraz represents the heart of Barossa. Fruit from more than 60 growers across the breadth of the region make up the final blend, affording consistency to the original Peter Lehmann style: robust and generous. Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Shiraz has a deep colour and a bouquet of dark plums and chocolate. This is a full-bodied wine with soft, velvet tannins and a long finish and while drinking beautifully now it can be cellared with confidence for another five to 10 years if so desired. Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Shiraz retails at €14.99.

Q & A with…

Michelle O’Sullivan, marketing manager for the Australian brands of the Findlater portfolio, including Wolf Blass, Lindeman’s, Penfolds, and Katnook Estate Michelle O’Sullivan

How are sales of Australian wine in the Irish market at present?

Australia continues to be the best selling country of origin in Ireland with 1.6 million 9L cases sold in 2013*. With total wine sales declining, it’s been a tricky time for the Australian wine category as it determines how to react to a declining market. Following the last increase in duty, +56% over the last 19 months, concerns grew as to whether consumers would follow their brands as they moved up in price as a result of the duty change. Some brands have decided to use a short-term strategy centred on price to try maintain their volume.  Other brands who are well established in the market have concentrated on a more long-term strategy using not only price but also looking to add value, using innovative ideas to get consumer attention.

What is your best-selling brand?

Wolf Blass is one of Ireland’s most recognised wine brands and has a market share within the Australian wine category of 17%. Wolf Blass is growing in a difficult market (retail sales reaching €17 million**), which is largely attributed to the brand’s quality relative to price and our investment in added value; Wolf Blass is the Official Wine partner to Leinster Rugby.

In the last year Wolf Blass was awarded the International Winemaker of the Year at the 2013 International Wine and Spirit Competition as well as the Red Winemaker of the Year award at the prestigious International Wine Challenge which is testament to the quality and consistency of the brand. Chris Hatcher, chief wine maker, Wolf Blass Wines, with Leinster players, Kevin McLaughlin, Eoin Reddan, and Leo Cullen. Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

What sort of marketing initiatives do you have planned for your Australian wines in the near future?

In August 2013, Wolf Blass and Leinster Rugby joined forces receiving a hugely positive response from consumers. In line with the start of the new rugby season in September, Wolf Blass will be launching a national campaign inviting rugby fans to enter to win tickets to see their province play as well as win rugby merchandise and Wolf Blass wine. This will be supported by TV bursts around matches, an ongoing digital campaign and in-store activation.

In October, the brand’s founder, Wolfgang Blass will be celebrating his 80th birthday and as part of this global celebration he will visit Ireland. His hugely anticipated visit involves a full schedule of TV and radio interviews, consumer events, tastings, trade dinners and much more.

*(Source: IWSR Country Report Wine Consumption 2013)

**(Source: Nielsen Ireland Scantrack Service, MAT Mar 2014)

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