CHARM OFFENSIVE: WINE AUSTRALIA CEO TALKED OF DEEP FRIENDSHIP WITH CHINESE CUSTOMERS
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Keith Zhu/Unsplash
CEO of Wine Australia, Andreas Clark, highlighted the deep-rooted friendship between Australian wine producers and their Chinese customers in an interview published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency yesterday.
The friendly remarks were made amid increasing trade tension between China and Australia over Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s earlier call for an investigation over China’s handling of the coronavirus when the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan.
Xinhua quoted Clark as saying that there is no short-cut in friendship, the relationship Australian producers have with Chinese customers has been cultivated over many years.
"Producers who are successful in China have being going there for 15 and 20 years," Clark said. "It's been consistent hard work, multiple trips cultivating relationship and that's been profoundly important."
"When I'm on the road with some of our Australian producers in China, you see what they do in terms of always picking up on their relationships at various trade events," Clark said.
"There's side dinners organized, there's side events organized. These people have become very close friends due to the longevity of the relationship, especially with a product like wine because when you open that bottle of wine that shares the camaraderie."
Clark also emphasised the importance of branding and positioning. He said country of origin has been an important pillar in building an Australian wine brand story. "As an export industry collectively, Australia has done well in China."
"Treasury Wine Estates has done an outstanding job leading with Penfolds. The position of Penfolds as a brand is first class and that's obviously delivered returns for Penfolds but it's also delivered returns for Australian wines as a category. Undoubtedly others have benefited from that positioning."
China is Australia’s top trade partner and is Australian wines’ biggest export market. The country’s wine producers are worried that their industry will be China’s next target in this round of trade tension.
Last month, China slapped a punitive 80% tariffs on barley imports from Australia, it then banned beef imports from four large Australian abattoirs citing improper food labelling.
Last week, the Chinese government warned citizens about travelling and studying in Australia, saying that there is an increase in racist incidents against Asians amid COVID-19 pandemic.
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