Australian Vintage is proving its determination to overcome challenges posed by a strong domestic currency with the announcement of a flurry of new product launches for the UK this year.
Julian Dyer, general manager for the UK & Europe at Australian Vintage, highlighted McGuigan’s position as “one of the fastest growing Australian brands” in the UK at the moment.
Despite acknowledging that, with the strong Australian dollar, “you have to be really lean to stay competitive” – the European office now bottles “over half” of all its wines in the UK – Dyer insisted: “The UK is a great market and we shouldn’t talk it down.”
Instead, he told the drinks business: “We’ve got to continue to innovate and I think Australian is well placed to do that.”
Following last year’s launch of its £9.99 McGuigan Reserve range, whose reported 100,000 case sales within six months “demonstrates that we can get people to trade up,” Dyer confirmed a plan to add a Sauvignon Blanc to the collection this year.
In addition, he announced the addition of a Pinot Noir and a Tempranillo to the McGuigan Classic range as part of a focus on “varieties that are not new, but are under-represented in Australia and have that soft profile and flavours that consumers really want.”
Meanwhile the brand’s independent retailer-focused Black Label will be given its own £9.99 reserve level “in the middle half of this year,” which will feature a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. “We’re giving our independents a similar range proposition to that which has proved so successful in the multiples,” explained Dyer.
With 2012 having seen Australian Vintage step up its profile within the growing low alcohol market in the form of a new lightly carbonated Moscato called Vinni, this summer will see the company build on this focus with the launch of Summer Light.
Like Vinni, Summer Light will use an advanced version of spinning cone technology to hit the lower duty rate level of 5.5% abv, with Dyer describing this latest offering as “specifically designed to appeal to consumers wanting lighter styles of wine.” Summer Light is set to retail at around £5.99, backed by promotional support.
Building on the success of the fruity style offered by Vinni, Dyer also indicated that there are plans to introduce another new “fun brand” into the UK market later this year.
With such a regular stream of new products coming onto the market, Dyer stressed the importance for Australian Vintage of ensuring ongoing developments to its offer. “This is a fashion industry and we need to be ahead of the trends,” he concluded.