21/02/2006 - 21:00

US wine writers visit WA

21/02/2006 - 21:00

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Five of the United States’ most influential wine writers have arrived in Western Australia for what is being called the ‘Way Out West Tour’, or WOW.

US wine writers visit WA

Five of the United States’ most influential wine writers have arrived in Western Australia for what is being called the ‘Way Out West Tour’, or WOW.

Following the visits by Steve Burns, a prominent wine consultant recently recruited by the Wine Industry Association of WA (WIAWA), the visit marks the next tangible step towards a strategic marketing plan to boost the state’s wine exports to the US.

The WIAWA says the tour is designed to “educate and excite” leading American palates about Western Australian food and wine. It is hoping this tour of hand-picked journalists will encourage WA wines sales in the US and generate further interest for more visits by US wine writers.

The journalists invited to the first WOW tour represent a leading section of wine writers in the US. They are: Leslie Sbrocco, who  is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times; Jordan Mackay , who writes for the Los Angeles Times; Michael Apstein, who writes for the Boston Globe; and the much-respected Jeffery Lindenmuth and Robert Whitley.

All have been chosen for their influence over the premium wine market of the US, the area targeted by WA wine exporters.

During his first visit to WA last year, Mr Burns told Gusto how important it was for influential wine writers to visit WA.

Experiencing the wine in context – with the food, landscape and the people behind the product – was an essential part of the experience, he said.

Delegates to last year’s WA Wine Industry Outlook Conference were told that the WA wine industry generated $500 million last year, $50 million of this from exports.

Mr Burns told the conference that, while only about 57 per cent of the US population of almost 300 million people regularly consumed alcohol, the lucrative American market represented the future for WA wine exporters.

The WOW Tour began last Sunday at Fraser’s Restaurant with an official welcome from Agriculture Minister Kim Chance.

The seven-day tour will include a cruise on the Duyfkin replica, followed by trips through WA wine regions including the Frankland River, Mount Barker, Denmark, Pemberton, Margaret River, Geographe and the Perth Hills.

The next step for wine exporters will be a WA-focused wine tasting scheduled for June 12 2006 in San Francisco, California.

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