Among the various attempts by Greek businesses to enter the Australian market and create firm bonds, the ‘New Wines of Greece’ annual expeditions should be held in high regard, at least in terms of persistence and strategic planning. Now in its third year, the deployment of Greek Wineries has a series of events planned for Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.
“We’re still following our initial planning”, says project manager Eleni Blouchou, who arrived earlier in Australia to set things out.
“We believed that any results would start showing in three to five years and we already see the first positive signs”.
What does this mean? Certainly not that during these three years there has been a boom of exports, or that Greek wine is now found in the average neighbourhood grocery and bottle shops. But this was never a goal of the New Wines of Greece expeditions. The goal from the start was to enhance the ‘Greek wine’ brand as a premium product and establish strong relations between the Greek winemakers and the Australian market (restaurants, bottle shops, importers etc). And the seed sown in the past couple of years seems to flourish.
“It’s still too early to assess the numbers”, says Ms Blouchou, “but we have seen a rise in exports of Greek wine in Australia, not in terms of quantity, but in total value, which means that we sell at a higher price. This was one of the original strategic goals for global exports”.
According to the Greek Bureau of Statistics, exports in terms of value have increased by almost 27 per cent from 2014 to 2016 and the respective average price by 23.2% to €3.97 a litre.
This is of course, very encouraging, meaning that Greek wine is finally being acknowledged as a product of high quality, but it still remains competitive, as it is sold in lower price than Australian wines of equal quality. But the true measure of success of the annual expeditions is not assessed by numbers; it is the strengthening of the bonds with importers.
“We have very positive relations and it is to the importers’ credit that they take this very seriously”, says Ms Blouchou.
“They come in Greece, during winter, they visit wineries, they close deals, they expand their network”.
This is something to be confirmed during this year’s deployment, as a lot of parallel events are to take place in restaurants and bottle shops, showcasing specific wineries.
Fewer winemakers participate in this year’s expedition, just 18, among which some visit Australia for the first time, but this is not the only thing changing. The main difference is that this year, the deployment will also target the broader consumer base, with a specific event, ‘Oinifilia’, scheduled to take place on 24 June at the Meat Market. Paying an entry fee of $55, wine lovers will get the opportunity to taste all the showcased wines, combined with dishes prepared by Angie Giannakodakis (Elyros, Epoca) and Kathy Tsaples (Sweet Greek). “We chose Melbourne for this event for obvious reasons, the strong Greek presence, but we are very much interested in having Australians come taste our products”, says Ms Blouchou.
Hopefully, this relationship between Greek Wineries and Australian Consumers will not be limited in the Meat Market grounds, but will have a continuation, in Greece. One of the main goals of this expedition is to present Greece as a strong destination for Wine Tourism. Travel agencies have been working with the consulates for this to happen and it the visiting winemakers themselves are very keen on exploring this. As part of their trip to Australia, they are to attend a wine tourism and wine marketing seminar at the University of Adelaide, followed by a trip to the Barossa Valley wineries.
The 2017 New Wines of Greece roadshow program is as follows:
19 June Sydney: Trade tasting at the Establishment (252 George Street), 11am-4pm (‘Decoding the land of Dionysus’ Masterclass at 2.30-4pm)
21 June Adelaide: Workshop and consumer events (Masterclass from 2.30-4pm) at George’s Restaurant (20 Waymouth Street)
24 June Melbourne: Oinofilia consumer event at the MeatMarket (for more information and tickets go to http://www.oinofilia.wine/melbourne-2017/)
26 June Melbourne: Master Class (2.30-4.30 pm) at the Crown Towers Garden Room (8 Whiteman Street)