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Fosters pulls Wine Australia funding

Foster’s is withdrawing financial support for Wine Australia in the UK, saying it is unhappy with the organisation’s approach to promoting its portfolio of Australian wines to European drinkers.

Foster’s executives are said to be particularly unimpressed with the new "A+" campaign which launched last year. For wines to fit into the A+ category they must be bottled in Australia, come from one of the 62 regional Geographical Indications and be a genuine brand rather than an own-label.

Foster’s Treasury Wine Estates wine division, which owns the Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Rosemount brands, claims it is taking this action as it is aggrieved that despite being one of the main contributors to Wine Australia’s marketing activities in the UK, the "A+" initiative excluded many of its most popular labels.

With its focus on genuine Australian brands, rather than an importer’s own label or Australian bulk wine sold with a generic label, the “A+” campaign excludes the bulk wines sold to retailers which provide a big source of revenue for Foster’s.

"It is disappointing that we’ve got to this point and it comes after some time trying to work through issues with the Wine Australia UK team,” a Foster’s spokesman said.

”We’ve seen declining value over recent years and campaigns which do not promote and represent our total portfolio of Australian brands, for what is a considerable annual investment.”

Wine Australia confirmed that Treasury Wine Estates will still participate in the organisation’s campaigns in Asia and North America and would continue to support the group in other activities.

Alan Lodge, 02.02.2011

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