Australian wine has been centre stage in the United States of America during a six-week campaign that has dazzled the American trade, consumers and media.
The $8 million campaign – supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package – is the single largest investment Australian wine has made in the market, taking 100 Australian wine exhibitors to New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco for a series of consumer events, seminars and trade tastings.
The final stage of the six-week campaign – Australia Decanted at Lake Tahoe – saw 100 American sommeliers, journalists, wine buyers and merchants attend 3 days of seminars, tastings and dinners with 16 Australian winemakers representing the regions, traditions and new directions that encapsulate Australian wine.
Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said, ‘we have been thrilled by the reception we have received. The campaign has seen us take the thrilling Australian wine scene to the heart of the USA with unprecedented scale and impact and allowed American consumers and trade to meet our wine producers, taste their wines and get a real sense of the warmth, energy and undeniable talent that exists in our wine community’.
Australian Consul-General to Houston, Texas, Hon Peter McGauran said, ‘Australian wines had never received such prominence or profile in Texas before Wine Australia’s spectacular event in Dallas.
‘Leading sommeliers, distributors and retailers came away knowing that Australian wine was world class and a fit for the Texan market.
‘The direct conversation between buyers and winery representatives who spoke passionately and expertly of their wine was a highlight for me. The event was held with customary Texan and Australian informality and mateship’, he said.
Renowned US sommelier turned winemaker Rajat Parr, who attended Australia Decanted, said, ‘events like this are invaluable. To meet the growers, meet the winemakers, to hear their stories and taste the wines all in one context, in one place, is really going to change the perceptions of all the people here.
‘Their wines truly reflect their character and for me, as a wine producer in the USA, that’s what I want to do. I want to make wine that represents a place, represents me,’ he said.
Exhibiting winemaker Vanya Cullen of Cullen Wines said, ‘the only way to feel wine is to taste it and talk through the experience with people. The best experience is onsite but to be in a place like Lake Tahoe with a room full of Australian winegrowers and top USA trade and media is absolutely priceless.
‘We want them to get a sense of Australian wine as an uplifting experience that represents our people, places and culture in a glass’, she said.
Gary Schueller, Marketing Director and Southern Hemisphere Wine Buyer at September Wines and Spirits in New York said, ‘I think there’s a multiplier effect that happens out of programs like this. I think the impact will be substantial and it’ll have longevity and generational change.
‘There’s a real transformation going on in terms of perceptions in the industry and a real willingness and excitement about embracing what the category can be. I think there’s never been a better time to introduce the Australian wine category to the US market. And it’s such a phenomenal platform for introducing people to the entirety of Australia, certainly in a wine-centric way but it does a wonderful job of showcasing the history, the culture and the sense of place in Australia’, he said.