Suppliers at this week’s Prowein trade show in Germeny said the market-leading country was poised for a major comeback as the Australian dollar continued to slide against the pound and new wines emerged.
Producers also hailed the appointment of Laura Jewell MW as UK head of Wine Australia as a “significant coup” for the country.
Discussing her plans for the job, Jewell, former senior wine product development manager at Tesco, told OLN: “There is a revolution going on in Australia and the people and personalities are coming over to Europe in their numbers to help create real passion for their products.
“Australia is at the point of bouncing back and there is a lot of buzz around it.
“Everyone expects me to focus on retailers, because of my background, but I want to get to know all the sectors, independents and the on-trade.
“I’m a commercial person, and that’s not going to change. The most important person is the consumer and it’s all about getting glasses back in people’s hands.”
Jewell added that independents would become more important to Australia as supermarkets cut their ranges.
She added: “When I joined Tesco I was responsible for Australia and had the opportunity to put in more regional and premium wines. But they gradually get eroded over time as it’s the big brands who are putting up the promotional support.”
Neil McGuigan, chief executive at Australian Vintage, said: “There’s never been a problem with Australia, it’s just been white noise coming from certain parts of the wine community.
“But we are now producing more diverse styles than ever. In the 1990s we planted a lot of vines and that is now beginning to bear fruit and enabling us to make wines with great intensity and structure.
“The rest of the world should stand back because Australia is coming again. All this is going on when the exchange rate makes exporting more favourable,
but it isn’t just going to happen. Producers must engage with consumers and retailers. We have to work harder at promoting Australia this time round because there is more competition, but our premium wines have never been better.”