Jacobs Creek confident in UK market potential

Jacob’s Creek’s five-year sponsorship deal with Wimbledon Tennis was signed because the brand “has a strong future in the UK market”, according to Bernard Hickin, chief winemaker for the Australian label.

bernard-hickin.jpgSpeaking to the drinks business on Friday at the world-renowned tennis tournament, he said: “The sponsorship follows on from our association with tennis in Australia, where we sponsor the Australian Open in Melbourne… and we are doing it [supporting Wimbledon] because we really believe in the UK market.”

Continuing he explained: “Even though these are challenging times, Jacob’s Creek seeks to premiumise the range in the UK market and one part of that is the launch of the Jacob’s Creek Regional Reserve range in the UK, which is really a chance for the consumer to see the regions in Australia – Barossa for our Shiraz, Adelaide Hills for the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and then for the Cabernet, Coonawarra, which is one of the most, if not the most famous region for Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia.”

He then added: “We are giving the wine consumer the chance to taste regions within Australia, not just Australian wine, to get the flavour of the variety and the character and personality of the region.”

As for Hickin’s role since the retirement of Phil Laffer, former chief winemaker for Jacob’s Creek, Hickin told db: “There will be no major change to the style, my job is to protect the quality and style… and make sure the style of Jacob’s Creek fits with needs of consumer.

“So if there was any change it would be very gradual as the wine consumer evolves to a different taste – for example slightly less oak… Any changes would be minor and quite gradual.”

Finally, speaking of other markets worldwide, Hickin noted the strength of the Far East. “Jacob’s Creek is selling very well in the in the Chinese market, so there is a focus on that market,” he confirmed. “The Chinese market is interested and wants to learn about Australian wine.”

For more on Jacob’s Creek partnership with Wimbledon tennis click here

Patrick Schmitt, 27.06.2011

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