As reported in Tuesday’s Pioneer the Riverland was well represented at Prowein, the world’s largest wine trade fair at Dusseldorf in Germany in the third week of March. Kingston Estate Wines, Salena Estate Wines, Brian Dominic wines, Delinquente Wine Co and 919 Wines all proudly proclaimed their Riverland Heritage. Accolade wines were prominent alongside the Wine Australia stand that provided a base for more than seventy smaller producers from around the country.
Phil Reedman, Master of Wine and self-proclaimed believer in Riverland wines presented half a dozen of the region’s alternative-variety gems to two sell-out masterclasses attended by some of the world’s most astute wine critics and wine buyers. Phil described the region to these audiences as Australia’s singular most exciting wine region! Images of Phil’s classes and other highlights of the event will be loaded on the Riverland website in the coming weeks.
Three weeks ago this column published a piece heralding a change of focus in the coming 12 months. A huge amount of ‘back-end’ work was acknowledged. This included detailed strategic planning, structural reform, on-farm and off-farm investments in infrastructure programs, and ongoing investment in research, development and extension activities. The foundations for a new era of Riverland grape and wine prosperity have been well and truly laid. The same column called for a change of focus. It’s time to add some serious grunt to the ‘front-end’. If Riverland grape and wine growers and producers are to reap the benefits of that slog, we must identify and support those with the knowledge, experience and grit necessary to compete and sell into markets not currently purchasing Australian wine or not recognising it for its true value.
Just a couple of stats to illustrate the brutality of the competition:
- 55,000 trade visitors came to the fair to sample wines, talk prices, identify distributors and check out the competition. None of them were wishing to ‘pay more’ for wine!
- The numbers of producers from competitor countries, all of whom had taken space in at least one of the 9 exhibition halls were: Italy – 1500, France – 1400, Germany – 960, Spain 600, Austria 350, Portugal 125 and other countries outside of Europe 600.
A more comprehensive report and discussion about what we can do to strengthen this focus on the front end will be presented at the May breakfast meetings starting in Waikerie on May 16, then following in Barmera May 19, Renmark May 22 and concluding at Loxton on May 26. Keep an eye on this column for further details.