Toasting a WA success story

Franklin Tate didn’t listen. He was not interested in the knockers, the doubters, the doomsayers.

The winemaker knew he could produce quality shiraz fruit at Margaret River even though the region did not have a strong association with the grape.

There were many sceptics. Not any more.

Evans & Tate’s 1999 Margaret River shiraz defeated almost 5000 other wines from around the world to win the best red wine at the prestigious Britain’s International Wine Challenge.

It is a big affair. The competition has been operating for 17 years, attracts more than 9,000 entries from 35 countries, including wine-producing icons France and Italy, and involved more than 550 professional wine judges.

It would be fair to say, then, that they knew their stuff.

Mr Tate said the win vindicated the vineyard’s decision to persist with the shiraz amid a sea of doubt.

It is a remarkable story from one of the vineyards that helped generate the region’s imposing reputation. Wine from the area is among the most sought after in the country.

Evans & Tate is a success story.

It had the courage to grow and produce a variety few believed it could and it showed similar confidence by subjecting itself to the trials and tribulations of the stock market when it floated last year.

While the company’s share price has fallen, first-year profit predictions and the promised dividend were achieved.

It is also developing new markets in Europe. The exposure from winning the wine award will certainly not harm the company’s profile.

The think-big attitude and determination to succeed exhibited by Evans & Tate is an example for all WA businesses.

Budding – indeed, existing – enterprises should use the company as an example of what can be achieved with some foresight, planning and confidence in your product.

With so much competition in all industries, it is this attitude that ensures only the strongest survive and prosper.

It is these enterprises that will continue to propel the WA economy.

News that Virgin is poised to enter the Australian mobile phone market is encouraging.

Judging by the UK-based company’s success in helping produce cheaper air fares for Australians, its foray into mobile phones can only benefit consumers.

Since launching its cut-price air fares in Australia, which has coincided with the arrival of Impulse Airlines, consumers have been provided with far more affordable fares.

It was a market that had for too long been dominated by two major players.

The use of mobiles continues to grow and another competitor, particularly one such as Virgin with its aggressive marketing tactics, should result in cheaper services for users.

At worst, Virgin’s presence will provide another option in the mobile phone market.

The company, headed by the flambouyant Richard Branson, claims to have had exceptional success with its Virgin network since launching in the UK last year.

It has no doubt that success can be translated to Australia.

We will watch with interest.

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