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Pemberton/Blackwood wine group posts Asian sales intent

A GROUP of family-owned Western Australian wineries is participating in an innovative venture to secure a share in the Asian wine market.

The consortium –consisting of Mountford Wines, Salitage Wines, Yanmah Ridge, Picardy, Treehouse and Merum Wines, all of which are located in the Pemberton and Blackwood region – will direct market their products to Singapore using postal services.

The consortium is headed by Mountford Wines owner Andrew Mountford, who said while Singapore was not traditionally a strong market for Australian wines, the wineries believe they can make significant inroads and aim to use this initial push into Singapore as a stepping stone to a wider Asian market.

“Singapore is the front door to Asia and this will provide the basis for expansion into other markets, such as Hong Kong,” Mr Mountford said.

A bonus for the group is the Singapore tax structure, which charges a tax on volume rather than on a dollar value.

“They only charge $1 per 750ml as tax, which makes it a level playing field among wine producers,” Mr Mountford said.

The group is also impressed by the ability of Australia Post and Singapore Post payment and courier systems. Duties and taxes are automatically paid with each transaction and the group has been able to gain customs clearance for bottles entering Singapore. Australia Post will be packaging the six bottle and 12 bottle shock-proof insulated packs daily via its international courier service. The result enables the wine producers to deliver the wine to the customer in 48 hours and can offer a guaranteed five-day delivery.

The group has access to Singapore Post’s database, which has allowed it to send 100,000 ‘father’s day’ emails this week promoting the wines under the banner The Heartwood Collection. The group will also mail brochures designed by a local Pemberton couple to 265,000 Singapore homeowners.

The brochures promote the region, not the wines, which is also a unique marketing angle.

Picardy owner Bill Pannell said champagne producers marketed their product by region and had been very successful.

“It’s about creating synergy – one plus one equals three,” he said.

Australia Post WA State communications manager Ian Leggoe said the company was tapping into a new area of facilitating direct marketing activities and using the Bpay system.

“We’ve been selling to the wine industry that we can deliver from the cellar door to anyone in the world, this is an extension of that,” Mr Leggoe said.

“It could be used for a whole range of industries, it’s just a matter of who wants to direct market.”

The wineries are hoping to gain greater distribution in Singapore with direct marketing aiming to give the Singaporean palate a taste of WA’s south-west.

Salitage owner John Horgan said the direct marketing program was a means to get Singaporeans to taste the range of wines that they can then access via other distribution channels.

“Your own distribution is ultimately the way to go because they’ll be no different to any other wine drinker. What this does is give them an initial taste of our wines,” Mr Horgan said.

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