UK merchants wowed by Australian wine experience

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From 2 to 11 October, a group of nine buyers from UK and Ireland independent wine merchants, plus Drinks Retailing News’ Editor Martin Green, explored the diversity and innovation of Australian wine through a series of personalised tours, tastings, master classes and winemaker dinners.

Hosted by Wine Australia’s Emma Symington MW, the program included Hunter Valley and Orange tastings in Sydney, a Barossa and Clare Valley tasting at Yalumba, and visits to Canberra, Yarra Valley, King Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale.

Guests discovered Mediterranean and alternative grape varieties, learnt more about the influence of cool climates, explored sub-regionality of Barossa, and met artisan and pioneering young guns like Mac Forbes and Lark Hill’s Chris Carpenter. The group was also taken on a guided tour of The Australian Wine Research Institute where they saw how research and development supports innovation in Australian wine and took part in a faults master class.

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Alongside various wine themed activities, the visitors also participated in the Victorian Salami Festival at Dal Zotto, a Milawa Cheese tasting, toured Four Pillars Gin Distillery and enjoyed a hot air balloon experience over the King Valley.

Having explored a broad range of regions and tasted more than 400 wines during the trip, feedback was extremely positive from guests who were impressed with the quality and diversity of wines. The group also valued the commercial opportunities that the trip presented, with many talking about new listings as a result of their visit.

“It was a fantastic trip, the best I’ve ever done, which is saying something as I’ve been on a few. I’ve been to Australia three times now, but every time there’s something new to discover,” said Ruth Yates, Managing Director and Buyer of Corks Out.

“Australia forms a very big part of the Corks Out portfolio – it’s the biggest still wine category ahead of France – and I think it will continue to grow, there’s so much potential.”