Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017

•The Australian federal government has committed A$50 million ($38m) to stimulating Australian wine exports over the next three years, with the U.S. and China as its main targets. Among the initiatives being funded in the U.S., the Wine Australia trade group recently embarked on a five-city seminar tour looking to boost the profile of Aussie wines. Aaron Ridgway, head of market, Americas, at Wine Australia, tells SND that the effort is aimed at capitalizing on the strong momentum for higher-end Australian wines in the market. “There’s curiosity about our wines again and growth of premium price points, and it’s become incredibly important that we invest behind that,” Ridgway says. According to Impact Databank, Australian wine shipments to the U.S. slipped 12% to 16 million nine-liter cases in 2016. However, helped by an improved exchange rate and a focus on premiumization, value increased by 3% to A$458 million ($347m), with wines above A$10 a liter—corresponding to $15 a bottle and up at U.S. retail—growing by 23% to A$41 million ($31m), according to Wine Australia. Overall, the $15-plus Australia category has expanded by nearly 60% in the U.S. since 2012.

•After widespread frost damage across key wine regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and Alsace this spring, France’s wine harvest is expected to be its lowest since 1945. The French agriculture ministry is forecasting wine production of 37.2 million hectoliters from the 2017 harvest, a total 17% lower than the average over the past half-decade. While the quantity of this year’s French wine harvest will be limited, France’s winemakers are expecting strong quality from the grapes that made it through the frost, due to favorable weather conditions over the summer.

•Anheuser-Busch’s Lime-A-Rita brand has struck a deal to become an official sponsor of the National Football League (NFL). The partnership will center on female-focused activations, with the brand looking to target the NFL’s roughly 45% female fan base. A Bud Light offshoot launched in 2012, the core Lime-A-Rita range also includes extensions like Straw-Ber-Rita, Lemon-Ade-Rita, Grape-A-Rita, Mang-O-Rita and Peach-A-Rita. The lineup recently unveiled a new fall/winter seasonal—Pome-Granate-Rita—that will be available through next spring.

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