Clovely Estate owner Dr Susan Mercer said she was delighted to ship a container-load of the company’s wines to India recently, and hopes it will be the start of many more

December 9, 2019

At a time when ongoing drought has reduced many of the region’s farms to minimal production, two South Burnett wineries are pioneering new export markets in Asia.

Last month Clovely Estate shipped a container-load of Sparkling Brut, Verdelho, Nebbiolo and Petit Verdot to India after the winemaker signed an import agreement with a large Indian distributor to help meet the growing demand for new, quality varieties.

The deal is the first time local wines have been shipped to India in volume.

But with demand for wines rising by about 14 per cent a year among the sub-continent’s young urban professionals, Clovely Estate owners Brett Heading and Dr Susan Mercer believe the deal could signal the start of many new opportunities for the company.

Clovely were one of the region’s first wine producers, and are ranked as one of the largest in the State.

Meanwhile, nearby Moffatdale Ridge Winery inked its own deal last week with a large Chinese distributor to export its wines to Shanghai, a city with a population almost as large as Australia.

The deal has come after appearances by the winery at several Hong Kong and mainland Chinese trade shows during the past few years.

It could see the Moffatdale business expand its vineyards significantly over the coming decade to meet demand.

Like Clovely’s export order to India, the Shanghai contract is being fuelled by an increasing demand for quality Australian wines from China’s growing middle class.

Both wineries told they had put in many years of work to secure the deals.

This was due, in large part, to the different approach Asian companies have to businesses.

“Chinese buyers, in particular, like to get to know you and your family before they will do business with you,” Moffatdale Ridge owner Jason Kinsella said.

“For us, this meant a number of trips over to Hong Kong and Shanghai, and hosting guests from China here in the South Burnett.

“However, the sheer size of the Chinese market made it very worthwhile to pursue.”

Jason said Moffatdale Ridge hopes to conclude a second deal with another distributor in Hong Kong later this year.

This would open up another market in a different part of the country.

Jason, who is also president of the South Burnett Wine Industry Association (SBWIA), said he believed all the region’s wineries had good future export potential.

“Because of our climate we are excelling at producing Mediterranean varieties that don’t grow as well anywhere else in Australia,” he said.

“In addition, a lot of these varieties match very well with Asian cuisines.

“This, plus our proximity to Asia, puts us in a great position to capitalise on these emerging markets.

“I really think that’s the way of the future.”

SBWIA president Jason Kinsella signed an export agreement with a large Shanghai-based distributor last week, and hopes to ink another in Hong Kong soon … he believes exporting the region’s wines to Asia will open up tremendous opportunities for the local industry
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