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Australia’s Hope Estate Makes U.S. Push

October 25, 2018

Australian wine continues to face challenges in the U.S. market, with shipments down 8% to A$424 million ($314m) in the year through June. Still, the category’s $15 and up segment has outperformed the rest of the market, with consumers gravitating to higher-priced bottlings.

Among the Australian wineries making a push at the premium level is Hunter Valley-based Hope Estate, whose wines are imported by Winesellers Ltd. “Australia’s unique, region-focused wineries have the real potential now for rebooting the country’s wine industry,” says owner and founder Michael Hope. Hope Estate has volume of about 80,000 cases annually, with roughly 10% coming to the U.S.

Hope Estate’s core lineup includes four estate-grown, site-specific wines—Wollombi Brook Semillon ($17 a 750-ml.), Mountain Wash Chardonnay ($15), Basalt Block Shiraz ($15), and The Ripper Shiraz ($22). The first three are sourced from Hunter Valley vineyards, while The Ripper is from Hope Estate’s Nob Hill vineyard, located nearly 3,000 miles away in the Geographe region of Western Australia.

Hope sees significant opportunity for the Wollombi Brook Semillon in particular, which is new to the U.S. “Semillon is going to be a major focus for us,” he says. “I’m confident there’s potential for it both by-the-glass in the on-premise and at retail.” A higher-end, 11-year-old Signature Semillon ($30) will follow next year, targeted at the on-premise. Hope adds that a canned red blend and white wine are also set to debut in 2019.—Julia Higgins

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