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John C Angove Discusses Angove Family Winemaker's move from the mainstream with Harpers Wine & Spirit

08 June 2016

Australia's Meditteranean Varieties Driving Next Cylcle of Interest in the UK

Andrew Catchpole,, 7th June 2016

Australia's future popularity in the UK may well ride on the growing number of Mediterranean varieties emerging from the country, delivering a more niche and premium proposition than the established reliance on volume sales. 

"The mood in Australia is slowly moving back to some cautious optimism, particularly as we have been seeing a reduction in the endemic over-supply situation, seeing vineyards coming out of ground and we have gone through bottom of the trough," John Angove of Angove Wines told Harpers.

"There is a growing interest in Australia for something different, and certainly an appetite from consumers for different varieties from some regions, such as Fiano, Tempranillo, Carignan and Vermentino, and these wines are generating some serious interest," continued Angove.

"We are cautious, as these wines are being made in small quantities, but it would be good to think in time the new Australia awakening in the UK would be through these Mediterranean varieties, generating the next cycle of interest, so the question is ‘how to make that happen'."

Angove's, in line with several of its medium-sized competitors, has over the last few years affected major changes in its approach to winemaking. A refreshed company philosophy is delivering greater focus on smaller production wines, less mainstream varieties and provenance, also now being one of the largest organic producers in South Australia.

"The volume wine industry, where 65% relies on exports, is a giant share of Australia's production and is at the competitive end of the market," said Angove. "And sadly this has become a commodity - if the price is 85 cents a litre from South Africa or Chile, then that is what we have to compete at, and it's hard work."

"Hence change in our philosophy – I don't think we can survive at that end of the business, so we need to find a niche that is further up the food chain and that [we as producers] can enjoy. We are an interesting mix of super premium down to mid-level premium, but actively moving right out of the bottom end."

Angove's is turning full circle, with the family having begun winemaking 150 years ago in the then premium (now planted to housing) Tea Tree Gulley area of Adelaide, before ramping up bigger volume production elsewhere. The company reinvested in vineyards in nearby McLaren Vale in 2008, later adding a micro-winery within its winery, to focus on premium production.


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