Back from the USA with unfinished business
Just back from their extensive tour of the USA with Wine Australia as part of their ‘Made our Way’ Roadshow, Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) are philosophical and focused on the task ahead for Australian wine.
The roadshow took in New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with good crowds of the ‘right’ people attending, auguring well for the Australian category overall. As a group, AFFW ensured that they showcased some of the best wines made in this country to help raise the bar of Australian wine overall.
And whilst the roadshow was a ‘journey of rediscovery’ for American wine lovers, the job is far from over according to former AFFW Chair, Bruce Tyrrell.
Justine Henschke (Henschke) at the Miami trade tasting
“Whilst it was great to see influential people tasting our wines and being amazed, we can’t afford to be forgotten again. It’s all about consistency of message. We have to keep telling our stories. It can’t just stop,” Tyrrell said.
And whilst Bruce and current AFFW Chair Stephen Henschke praised Wine Australia for staging memorable events in every city at a cost of $8million – including Aussie Wine Month and the ultimate Aussie wine event AUSTRALIA DECANTED on the banks of Lake Tahoe, showcasing the very best of Australian wine – both agree that there is still much to be done.
“The effort by Wine Australia to improve Australia’s image overseas through our wines provides a knock-on increase in tourism, delivering a huge financial benefit across many sectors,” Henschke said.
“However, the $50 million government investment in the wine industry over the past few years will be spent by June 2020 when the current funding expires. Given how much the government reaps in taxes from the wine industry, it’s time they stepped up and showed an ongoing commitment to our long-term health, at home and internationally,” Henschke said.
“The WET reforms of the past few years have essentially removed the industry rebate from bulk and buyers own brand wines and has moved the maximum rebate of $500,000 down to $350,000, resulting in substantially decreased rebates paid, which has the effect of creating more revenue flow into the general coffers of Treasury at an estimate of $200 million per year. All of a sudden, the $50 million Export and Regional Support Package over the four years to 2020 looks more than reasonable and achievable for the future.”
“With the Aussie dollar at the right level to encourage exports, the government must commit to our future beyond June 2020. We’ve all lost money from our bottom line as part of the WET tax rebate reforms and, as some of Australia’s oldest family-owned businesses, we’ve just had to accept that. But we absolutely need a guarantee that the support will continue for the evolution of the whole industry of which our group are the multi-generation elders,” he went on.
As eleven of Australia’s leading family-owned, multi-generational wine businesses with years of experience, the group feels a responsibility to ensure that the $50 million spent under the auspices of Wine Australia does not go to waste – and that the investment continues.
As Bruce Tyrrell noted, “I’ll be lobbying my local member and will be encouraging all my AFFW colleagues to do the same in their regions. As a group we have to lead the charge, have our voices heard and fight for funding on behalf of the Australian wine community. It’s vital to our long-term future and I’m certainly up for it.”
(l-r) Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg, Dan Gregory of Campbells and
Justine Henschke of Henschke presenting the Australia’s First Families of Wine
“Shade of Shiraz” mini masterclass in Dallas
Australia’s First Families of Wine is a proud and enthusiastic participant in many of Wine Australia’s international roadshows and continue their profile-raising and tasting mission, taking some of the best Australian wine to the world backed by over 1300 years of collective winemaking experience.
Australia’s First Families of Wine: Experience is Everything
Brown Brothers, Campbells, d’Arenberg, Henschke, Howard Park, Jim Barry Wines,
McWilliam’s Wines, Tahbilk, Taylors, Tyrrell’s Wines, Yalumba
For more information about AFFW, head to.
Main image: Members of AFFW on tour in Miami as part of the Wine Australia US Roadshow (l-r) Chester Osborn @darenbergwine, Richard Burch @howardparkwines, Jess Hill-Smith @yalumbawine, Justine Henschke @henschke, Bruce Tyrrell @tyrrellswines, Kath Tidemann @darenbergwine & Mitchell Taylor @taylorswines