UK wine trade welcomes return of Australia Trade Tasting

The Australia Trade Tasting returned to London on 7 April 2022, marking Wine Australia’s first in-person event in the UK since COVID-19 and the signing of the historic Australia-UK free trade agreement (FTA).

At full capacity with 54 exhibitor tables, the major wine tasting featured more than 700 Australian wines from 170 producers – offering a valuable opportunity for the UK wine trade to connect with UK-based distributors and sample wines for retail shelves and wine lists.

Key features of this year’s trade tasting were:

  • the latest vintages from Penfolds, Henschke, Vasse Felix and Clonakilla
  • old vine wines from Torbreck, Tahbilk and Thistledown
  • sparkling wines from Barossa, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Margaret River, Tasmania and Yarra Valley • fortified wines from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Rutherglen
  • a new-to-market area, with 100 wines from new producers seeking distribution
  • 42 different grape varieties – from Aranel and Assyrtiko, Sagrantino and Sangiovese, to Zibibbo and Zweigelt, and
  • alternative wines and new launches, including low and no alcohol (NOLO) wines, pét-nat, wine in cans, and wines from celebrities.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Martin Cole said, “We’re super excited to have kicked off our first in-person event in the UK after a two-year hiatus. And in addition to showcasing our usual favourites, it was great to see 100 wines from new producers seeking distribution in market.

“The UK is Australia’s top wine market by value and volume , and the Australia-UK FTA (once ratified) will eliminate tariffs and pave the way for both wine markets to thrive in the COVID-19 recovery.

“The CONNECT initiative we launched in mid-2021 has gone some way to keeping producers connected with global trade during the pandemic, with more than 8000 registrants worldwide signing up for virtual tastings, panel discussions and ‘Australian Wine Discovered’ education sessions over the past 12 months.

“And while it’s expected that virtual and hybrid events will remain a prominent part of trade shows going forward, there’s still no substitute for in-person interactions,” Dr Cole said.

Wine Australia’s Regional General Manager of the UK and Europe Laura Jewell MW said, “There was a fantastic atmosphere at the Australia Trade Tasting, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and it was great to see guests discovering new wines and renewing old acquaintances. The tasting was a much-needed opportunity for trade to get up-to-date on Australian wine and catch up with distributors.”

Speaking from the event, British wine writer, television presenter and broadcaster Oz Clarke OBE said the tasting was a “brilliant example of how the classic styles have never been better and the new wave, with a deferential nod to the elders, has never been more exciting.”

Susie Barrie MW, presenter, broadcaster and writer said, “Australia really is producing some of the most exciting wines its ever made right now. Admittedly I was cherry-picking but what a selection. Nuanced, fragrant, characterful and so compellingly drinkable.”

In June, Australian wineries will join the London Wine Fair and Aspen Food and Wine Classic, where they hope to continue building meaningful connections with industry professionals.

All of Wine Australia’s in-person events will incorporate the CONNECT platform going forward, with online catalogues and QR codes driving event visitors directly to the virtual ‘Expo’ and rolling program of ‘CONNECT Conversations

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