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Strong future tipped for Australian wines

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/03/2017 Lloyd Jones, NZN London Correspondent

Brexit could mean the UK loses its place as the main transhipment point for Australian and New Zealand wines into Europe, an international wine market observer says.

Guillaume Deglise, the CEO of Vinexpo, an international wine and spirits fair being held in Bordeaux in June, says Australian wine sales will remain strong in the UK and have bright prospects of growing markets in China and the US.

"What is interesting about Brexit is that a lot of Australian wines or New Zealand wines, when they enter Europe, they enter through the United Kingdom and then the UK shippers will take care of the distribution in Europe.

"Now, is this going to change in the future because of Brexit?

"That's possible because it was the open door to Europe, the UK, for these wines," Deglise told AAP in London on Wednesday.

He said everything would depend on the negotiated trade agreement between the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

But Deglise said the most important market for Australia at present was China where it was the second biggest importer of wines behind France.

He said a trade deal with China worked in Australia's favour and the growing young Chinese middle class had a taste for Australian wines, with the market for Australian Shiraz there expected to expand.

"There is a bright future for Australia in China," Deglise said.

The US was also a strong market for Australia which was now the second largest wine exporter there behind Italy, with the current exchange rate helping sales, he said.

Australia had penetrated the US market with low-end wines such as the Yellowtail brand but there was a shift to premium and regional wines, Deglise noted.

"The US doesn't have enough wine for their own market.

"Australia is also an English-speaking country so these wines are easy to understand, the labels are easy to understand, the wines are easy to pronounce and the style of the wine is similar to what they are used to."

Deglise said he noted on a recent trip to Australia that the trend was to premium and regional wines.

Wine makers, he said, wanted buyers to see wine as coming from the Clare Valley, the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and other regions, rather than just Australia.

"So this is where Australia is getting more interesting in the world of wine."

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