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WINE Australia’s Australia Today Road Show – the first large-scale Australian wine road show in North America in eight years – attracted 950 media and wine trade professionals and generated great excitement about Australian wine in the US and Canada.

The road show, held over the past two months in San Francisco, New York, Houston, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, focused on the theme of ‘Australia Today’ to highlight the evolution of Australian wine offerings in both the US and Canada, with a specific focus on regionality, diversity, new vintages and new packaging.

It was part of more than 20 events Wine Australia held in major cities across the US and Canada throughout the past two months.

Other initiatives included:

  • The Gateways to Australia events, in partnership with Tourism Australia, which included three food, wine and travel focused events for media, with chef John Placko across three Canadian cities
  • Fifteen consumer wine and food tastings in liquor board stores in partnership with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB)
  • The feature country for the annual Drinks Ontario industry dinner in Toronto

Wine Australia’s general manager for market development James Gosper said the events built on the positive trade response to Savour Australia 2013.

“There’s some really positive sentiment about Australian wine in the US and Canada and the 20 events we’ve held up there throughout the last few weeks have really helped build on this and maintain the momentum generated by last year’s Savour Australia 2013,” Gosper said.

“Our Australia Today Road Show and consumer events are part of our strategy to highlight and educate the US and Canada about our premium, regional and diverse offerings and raise the profile of the Australian category.

“The trade and consumers in Canada particularly were over-due for more Australian wine information and activities, and the response has been very positive.”

Wine Australia’s North America regional director Angela Slade said the US wine trade was ready for and open to Australia’s diverse, high quality offerings.

“The wine trade in the US is starting to move forward and is ready to see, taste and discover more of our quality wines,” Slade said.

“There’s a growing market for Australian wine sales and traction at higher-price points, primarily the retail price segment of US$15 – $19.99 and US$20-24.99.

“The US market in particular requires a long-term focus, consistent messaging and a ‘slow and steady’ approach.

“Expectations need to remain cautious and wineries need to be ready to spend time in the market and build or rebuild personal relationships.”

Wine Australia’s Australia Today Road Show included a seminar and trade tasting which featured more than 30 wineries, and in the US a vibrant market access area featured 22 soon-to-be-in-market wineries.

Wine Australia’s education director Mark Davidson presented a compelling seminar at each event which highlighted the evolution of Australia’s classic styles.

Davidson was joined by guest presenters throughout the events including Australian winemakers, leading sommeliers and wine writers.