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Delhi Wine Club
McGuigan is an Australian Vintage

Posted: Tuesday, 09 July 2013 14:59

Passing By: McGuigan is an Australian Vintage

July 09: McGuigan Black Label Red is the biggest selling red wine in Australia but Leah O’Shea, the Export Executive for Asia Pacific was in India to promote the Black Label varietals along with a couple of Yaldara Estate labels, that are owned by the public limited company Australian Vintage Limited, being imported by Hema Connoisseurs, says Subhash Arora who had the pleasure of meeting her at his residence for breakfast

Click For Large ViewMcGuigan is a well known Aussie label in India for many wine drinkers but ask them about Australian Vintage Limited (AVL) as a company and most of them would draw a blank. The number would have been bigger perhaps if it were not for the infamous legal case involving Indage Vintners, the erstwhile Indian leader now laps behind, with its engine sputtering and a broken suspension system. 

Indage had agreed to acquire Loxton, the fourth largest winery in South Australia from Australian Vintage for A$60 million in March 2008. The sale was to be completed by September the same year but after several false promises, the Indian maverick finally reneged. AVL filed a suit resulting in Indage losing the A$6 million deposit, and it was also asked to pay an undisclosed amount in terms of wine from its South Australian winery Tandou. This winery was sold in 2011 to The Wing Group (TWE). Interestingly, Australian Vintage Ltd. came into being only in 2008 - earlier it was McGuigan-Simeon after buying out Simeon and Miranda wineries in 2002.

Leah O’Shea, who has been working with the company for 4 years out of which 2 years have been in exports, would of course not be expected to know this interesting fact. But she is proud that McGuigan Wines was declared the International Winemaker of the Year in 2009, 2011 and 2012 at the International Wines and Spirits Competition, London and also the International White Winemaker of the Year in 2009 and 2012 by the International Wine Challenge. It must be a matter of pride for McGuigan and of interest to the Indian wine consumers that it entered 39 samples with a 100% of them being awarded medals.

After the recent visits from the Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and Les Grands Chais de France (40 million cases), Australian Vintage Ltd., (AVL) does look small in comparison. But it is Australia’s third largest wine producer (behind TWE and Pernod Ricard), with the second largest vineyard holding of 2700 hAs. Producing 9.3 million cases, it claims to supply wines at all prices of quality and price spectrum. 53% of its production is exported as bottled wine whereas 9% is bulk wine. An expanded version of the McGuigan family with public also now owning shares, the company still produces 60% of the wines in the McGuigan range.

McGuigan Black Label has 4 varietals in India, says Leah - Chardonnay, Rose, Shiraz and Merlot. Private Bin Shiraz and Chardonnay are in the pipeline for restaurants though they are the same wines as the Black Labels - ‘at least, one can’t tell the difference in blind tasting,’ says Leah. ‘We imported 12 labels last year’, discloses Amit Aggarwal who accompanied her for the visit to meet me at my residence, ‘but due to the rising Aussie dollar, the prices kept on climbing and made them uncompetitive.'  Leah agrees and says they have had a challenging year for exports because of the appreciating Aussie dollar. But fortunately for them, it has started depreciating recently and the wines are coming into the encouraging zone. They have achieved 41% growth in value on year-year basis last year.

Click For Large ViewPresent in India for slightly over one year, Hema has been experimenting with 12 of their labels, in the process clocking the sale of over a thousand cases. But this year he is focusing on the 4 McGuigan Labels and 2 Yaldara labels-Shiraz and Chardonnay. He is discontinuing the Shortlist and Discovery labels due to the registration costs.

McGuigan has a range of high quality wines as well. McGuigan Philosophy 2010 will be released at $200 in August - only 3000 cases of this wine have been produced. McGuigan Farms Barossa Valley Shiraz is $75 a bottle. McGuigan Handmade Shiraz Longhorne Creek retails for $45 and is very successful in export markets, says Leah, who is quite optimistic about India and is looking for expansion of the current market.

With the devaluation of the Australian dollar, some of their higher quality wines may make an entry in India soon. For now, the McGuigan Black Label varietals, Private Bins and Yaldara will keep Hema Connoisseurs occupied for a while.

Subhash Arora

Tags: McGuigan Black Label Red, Yaldara Estate, McGuigan, Aussie, Australian Vintage Limited, Australia, McGuigan Philosophy, McGuigan Farms Barossa Valley Shiraz, McGuigan Handmade Shiraz Longhorne Creek



Leah O'Shea Says:

Dear Subhash, I am delighted to announce that McGuigan Wines has just won the International White Winemaker of the Year for 2013 at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). Announced on the 18th July (UK time) at a gala awards ceremony in London, McGuigan Wines was crowned White Winemaker of the Year for a remarkable third time in five years. Having taken the title of ‘world’s best white winemaker’ in 2009 and 2012, the key to the 2013 accolade was McGuigan Wines stand out performance across the competition which saw the brand receive the Champion White Wine of Show – commonly referred to as the ‘best white wine in the world’ – for its Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon 2005. Regards, Leah O'She

Posted @ June 19, 2013 14:50


dkraju Says:

Subhash, Amit has given me an opportunity to market these wines in Tamil Nadu. First customer is Madras Club.

Posted @ July 18, 2013 10:39


Uk Gupta Says:

Sir Subhash ji , What happened to Indage . Where that leading brand has gone from market. You always talk of other brands specially the Sula but where is that lovely brand from Indage.

Posted @ June 10, 2013 17:23


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