Australia's presence in the UK on-trade tumbled last year, according to figures released by Accolade Wines at the Australia Day Tastings in London today.
Last year, only 11% of Australia’s total volume sales took place in the on-trade, down from 12.5% in 2014 - a decline of almost 10%.
The problem, according to Jane Robertson, category development director at Accolade Wines UK, is one of supply.
‘People are scrimping and splurging – using the on-trade as a treat – so when they go out they want to buy something better than usual. And those kind of Australian wines aren’t there in the on-trade,’ she said.
‘It’s a shame that we don’t have the presence there; it’s somewhere we can build a profile, and our research shows that people want to see wines they recognise there, too,’ she continued.
While Australia’s overall sales were positive – global exports were up 14% to A$2.1bn – the picture in the UK is markedly less rosy. Growth has been sluggish and, with the country a victim of price battles between the supermarkets, trading the public up has proved difficult. Tellingly, all of Australia’s growth over the last year has been under £5.
‘Total wine is experiencing a trade-up, but we’re not getting that through in Australia,’ said Rob Harrison, Accolade's GM sales for UK and Ireland. ‘There’s a lot of clutter in that sub-£5 area. We need to make it clear to people what they get if they trade up.
‘Customers understand Mendoza Malbec better than Barossa Shiraz, which is strange, because we got there first.’