You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Wednesday 1 July 2015

Tasmania boosts Aussie wine revival

9th April, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

Excitement about Tasmania is playing an important role in reinvigorating interest in the Australian wine industry as a whole, according to one producer.

Tasmania“There’s something about Tasmania that people have a real affinity with,” remarked Andrew Harris, wine ambassador for Brown Brothers, which bought its own vineyards here in 2010. “It has great food, it’s green, there’s lots of wildlife – there’s a great connection there.”

Although the state currently contains just 1,600 hectares of vineyard, divided among around 160 licensed producers, average prices are more than double that for Australian wine as a whole and the Tasmanian local government is keen to attract further investment in the region. Meanwhile, recent years have seen Australia’s total wine exports falter, with the country experiencing a 6% volume export decline in 2013.

Earlier this spring, Brown Brothers launched its “18 Eighty Nine” Sauvignon Blanc into the UK market for the first time, having switched to using Tasmanian fruit for this line from the 2012 vintage onwards.

Highlighting the positive reaction to this shift from the domestic market, where the brand is already well established, Harris reported: “It’s sold twice as fast as when we made it in Whitlands,” an area of the King Valley in Brown Brothers’ Victoria heartland.

Indeed, looking more generally at the company’s recent sales performance, Harris remarked: “Our domestic market is really picking up,” a shift he attributed not only to changes in the 18 Eighty Nine range, but also Brown Brothers’ Tasmanian label Devil’s Corner, which he reported “has been growing at an enormous rate in Australia.”

In the UK, this summer will see Tesco introduce an exclusive label Tasmanian Pinot Noir from Brown Brothers, which is due to retail for around £12.99.

“We want to keep it as fresh and vibrant as we can,” said Harris of the stylistic approach taken with this particular offering. “We look to Freycinet Peninsular with its warmer site for berry fruit and a warmer flavour, then complement that with the freshness of Tamar Valley.”

Describing the new listing as “exciting”, Emma Clark, brand manager for Brown Brothers’ UK agent PLB described it as “a response to demand from the public for cooler climate wines and Pinot Noir.”

Despite the exciting results from Tasmania, which have seen a number of high profile producers buy vineyards on the island in recent years, Harris acknowledged the challenge presented by its “fickle” climate, noting: “in some years it’s cooler than Champagne.”

“In 2011 we dropped over half our Pinot Noir from the biggest vineyard which was a bit of an eye opener,” he recalled. “Then 2012 was amazing quality but there wasn’t a lot of quantity to show the market. 2013 was perfect.”

Cool conditions during the latest growing season have led to a late harvest and “a little bit of poor fruit set”, leading Harris to offer the mid-harvest prediction that “there’s probably going to be a lower quantity, but usually that pans out into better quality.”

Despite the challenges presented by such a marginal grape growing climate, Harris highlighted this as a source of appeal for many Australian producers. “With the drought risk we’ve had, that move to cooler climate viticulture is important,” he remarked.

Although Brown Brothers was already located in the relatively cool area of Victoria, he pointed to the recurring problems caused by forest fires in this region during recent years “so we decided to diversify.”

Brown Brothers’ current vineyard holdings in Tasmania include 180 hectares in the Freycinet Peninsular on the east coast of the island, with a further 130ha in Tamar Valley and an “even smaller” site in nearby White Hills that was left over after the company sold its vineyards here to Treasury Wine Estates last year.

A more detailed look at the performance of Australian wine exports will appear in May’s issue of the drinks business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Beaujolais pushes for sparkling AOC

Beaujolais is trying to gain AOC status for its sparkling wines which, with it more...

Vinadeis unveils Languedoc 'black diamonds'

One of France’s largest wine producers has launched a high-end Languedoc more...

Wine cellar carved into cliff on sale for $3m

A nine-storey deep wine cellar carved into a cliff edge has gone on sale in more...

Hatch Mansfield – Brand Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary

Bilingual 'tool' demystifies wine tasting

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority has developed a new "tool" which more...

Sud de France launches Wine Hub

An "innovative" tool designed to support wine producers and importers operating more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...

Social Media Editor


Chilean brand looks back to move forward

Chilean producer Santa Carolina has launched an “icon” wine with a more...

UK reviewing alcohol intake guidelines

Health officials are to review the government's drinking guidelines, as more...

Delegat aims high with new Barossa brand

Oyster Bay owner Delegat has launched “a new global brand” from more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Austrian wine importer launches in Hong Kong

A wine importer specialising in Austrian wines has launched in Hong Kong to more...

Wimbledon serves up English wine

Organisers of this year’s Wimbledon have decided to offer tennis fans English more...

Red wine can help you lose weight

Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes, has been found to more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Mumm releases Santana sparkler

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana has teamed up with Mumm Napa to release a more...

Symington Estates to uncover Douro's best grapes

Symington Family Estates has planted an experimental vineyard in the hottest more...

Antipodean craft brewers in tax tussle

A proposed tax refund for craft brewers in Australia should not be extended to more...

Hardys invests £4m in summer of cricket

Hardys has unveiled a new £4 million consumer marketing campaign to tie in more...

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...

Australia puts quality centre stage

Wine Australia has pledged to invest AUD$35m annually for the next five years more...

Warehouse Supervisor

London, United Kingdom

£27,000-£30,000 depending on experience

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An "epic" Riesling, a "Grecian beauty" that "gobsmacks with opulent tropical more...

Top 10 wines in the US press

An impressive Tannat-Merlot-Zinfandel blend from Uruguay and a Vernaccia from more...