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Asian markets thirsty for locally made wines

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Asian markets thirsty for locally made wines  article image
An export consortium is assisting local wineries with potential demand in Asia, after Australia received multiple awards at a recent international trade show. Wine Export Initiative Ltd (WEXI) entered 74 wines for judging at the Wine and Spirits Asia, and received 51 awards at the four day competition. The trade focused exposition is said to attract 30,000 visitors from across South East Asia, India, Korea and Japan. WEXI’s founding director David Elliott said representing a successful range of wines at the show attracted a lot of attention from both visitors and exhibitors. "This is at a time when the appetite for Australian wine in tourist and domestic markets in some Asian countries is growing by as much as 45 percent in the past few years," Elliot said. According to Elliott, WEXI’s ability to service requirements in Singapore from a single source here while providing a large variety of award-winning wines representing regionality, quality and a range of price points is the key to opening doors for Australian winemakers, but the industry may still face barriers. WEXI’s model is designed to provide some of Australia’s 2299 wineries with a lucrative and low risk method of accessing and trialing Asia’s emerging wine markets but Elliot believes the on-premise market will present the toughest sales to crack due to existing relationships and the pressures they bring. Under the WEXI model, shipping as well as participation will be shared, allowing mid sized wineries able to export with much larger buying power. The model will also allow Australian wineries to sell their product in a retail environment rather than through agents. Wineries will decide on the quantity, the varieties of wine, set the sell price and have their stock sold through WEXI’s expanding sales networks, including retail, hotels, restaurants and the internet. Elliott believes the feedback seemed to be very much in favour of the consortium’s plans to bring small, independent wine brands to Singapore with high expectations for WEXI’s expansion. Elliott says he is not surprised but encouraged by the very positive response from Australian wineries challenged by growing competition and overproduction. "They tell us they are looking for a stronger, safer method of selling in overseas markets and need long-term sales channels," Elliott explains. According to Elliott, like all successful collaborations, it’s about being at the right spot at the right time - and the trade show has become a great start for local winemakers. 50 wineries from a full range of Australia’s winegrowing regions have expressed a strong interest in helping to foster South East Asia’s developing wine culture. "By sticking together, wineries will be able to fulfil international sales faster and more efficiently without the massive risk of going it alone," Elliott said. WEXI’s focus is said to be on Singapore’s expanding domestic wine market, international tourism and expatriate communities, aiming to provide a minimum set cost for wineries to test and develop export channels to a variety of sub markets. "We’re excited about the initial success of our wine selection and are looking forward to a new era for our winemakers who can now safely tap into a massive Asian market," Elliott said.

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