Oct 03: According to a Media Release on 29 September 2021 by Stephen Patterson MP on the official website of the government of South Australia which makes over 60% of the country’s production including the ubiquitous Jacob’s Creek, has launched a 12-month long South Australian Indian Wine Expansion Program that will feature education and assistance to South Australian wineries that already export or want to enter Indian market, writes Subhash Arora who feels it might be a tedious journey ahead for most but rewarding for a select few
According to Connectplus, Stephen Patterson MP, Minister for Trade and Investment said the initiative will help both South Australian wine producers already exporting to India but looking to tap new markets and the wineries which have not entered the market yet but are keen on expanding.
Indian Wine Expansion Program will run for 12 months and focus on how to access the Indian market, create strong brand awareness and provide the Indian importers and distributors key information and insight into South Australian wines. “The Indian Wine Expansion Program will provide importers, distributors and buyers from target cities including Mumbai and New Delhi with the chance to participate in dedicated promotions of South Australian wine at high-end hotels and restaurant chains, as well as online activations,’’ according to the official website of Premier (equivalent of a Chief Minister in India) Steven Marshall MP.
The motivating force and the genesis of the current project goes back to November 2020 when Australia had realized that China was not likely to change its tough stand of imposing duties of up to 220%. The nimble-footed industry had to think of fresh plans fast. It had come together earlier during the global meltdown in 2008-09 when Wine Australia had implored the Aussie producers to look towards China for survival. The results were astounding as China became its biggest market and was still expanding, thanks to a Free Trade Agreement- until the Chinese pulled the rugs from under their feet last year.
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A new program was launched to help the small and medium wine companies of South Australia to diversify into the emerging Asian markets for the first time and focus exports to Asian countries like Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and India. The Program would develop resources on each of these four markets to help wineries know what to expect and how to brace themselves. Market overview of each country, information about sales channels, an in-depth consumer profile and a guide to doing business in each market were to be provided. The current project appears to be the culmination of that plan.
South Australia had already tried to foray into the ‘lucrative Indian market’ in 2009 and as reported by delWine in its 348th issue in November 2009, “South Australia is one of the biggest wine producing states of Australia with 50% of production coming from here,’ said the Trade Commissioner, Michael Carter starting the evening. It has 17 of the 64 wine regions, including the best known in India- Barossa Valley. It also has Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vales where the wines procured from D'Arenberg, Shaw & Smith (Brindco is the importer) and Yalumba (imported by Sonarys) are produced.”
The Government of South Australia had also announced the Launch of a two-year wine education programme in Delhi and Mumbai in order to showcase the premium wines of South Australian regions and winemaking expertise in the Indian market, to be started in 2018 and organised by the South Australian Wine Industry Association. At a wine tasting hosted by the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner Ms. Leonie Muldoon at the Australian High Commission on 9 November 2017 had said, ‘India is a huge market and has a great potential for South Australian wines as Indians have propensity to spend on fine gastronomy, despite high taxes.’
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South Australia produces more than half of total Australian wine- according to one delegate present, it was 80% share) and yet people don’t know that the ubiquitous Jacobs Creek and the most-revered Penfolds Grange are both from South Australia with a wide range of decently priced delicious wines in the middle. The launch of the education programme was to fill in the gap and hope to give insights into wines from the region.
Brian Smedley, Chief Executive of South Australian Wine Industry Association, had given a quick review of the South Australian wine industry and said they planned a 2-year period wine education programme in Delhi and Mumbai. The programme would give the Indian market insights into South Australian wineries and the diverse portfolio of varietals, styles and price points to meet the present and future demand in India. This initiative by the Government of South Australia indicated their growing interest in the Indian market which he said was tough but lucrative in the long run.
‘It’s all about wine education. We have been running these courses in Australia for the last 16 years and conduct about 15-17 every year –each course costing more than AUS $200,’ he said, stressing that the programme would be complimentary for Indians during this period.
Rajiv Singhal had organised that evening last year. Nothing much was heard about the programme except a Masterclass at the Leela, which I could not attend as I was out of the country. The Media Release says that Sonal Holland MW has been appointed as the Brand Ambassador for the South African wineries. She proposes to conduct a Webinar later this month, which is targeted only at the South Australian wineries.
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Keep your taste buds ready for such programs but don’t dream of tasting the latest release of a Penfolds Grange or Henschke Hill of Grace, the top two wines of South Australia and in fact-the whole of Australia.
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