New Aussie wine importer launches in UK16th January, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
A new UK importer of Australian wine has officially launched this week to champion “small artisan producers from premium regions”.
Called Aussie Rules, the new business has been founded by Lee Barrie, who has worked in various wine buying roles at Gonzalez Byass, Forth Wines and Constellation Europe over the past 10 years.
The importer’s portfolio is aimed at independent retailers and regional wholesalers in the UK and comprises 40 wines from seven wine producing regions in Australia including Margaret River, Mount Barker, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Yarra Valley.
Among the producers handled by Aussie Rules are Vinaceous, Rob Dolan, Leconfield, Richard Hamilton, Claymore and Riposte by Tim Knappstein.
Explaining his decision to launch the new business, Barrie said, “A number of premium Aussie producers have become disillusioned with the UK and pulled out because of pressures around currency and artificially low price points, I believe that wines with personality and quality that the consumer can relate to, can buck the trend.”
Continuing he said, “Being 100% focused on wines from premium regions of Australia has struck a chord with our producers, who welcome the focus that a specialist importer can offer.”
The new business is reminiscent of an established specialist UK importer of high quality Australian wines called Hallowed Ground, which was set up by Amelia Jukes and Elodia Cameron in January 2011.
Profiled by the drinks business not long after it was founded, Hallowed Ground is focused on importing fine wines from boutique wineries in Australia – as well as New Zealand – such as Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley and Ocean Eight in Mornington Peninsula.