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De Bortoli reveals multiple and independent strategy

Published:  20 October, 2011

Australia's fifth largest producer, De Bortoli wines, is determined to succeed in the UK both in supermarkets and with independents.

UK general manager Mark Wilson said the trade had to move people away from "spending more on coffee than wine".

De Bortoli is ramping up its entry-level selection with the recently released DB, which Wilson hopes will compete on supermarket shelves with brands such as Oxford Landing and Jacob's Creek, at around £6.49 to £6.99.

Wilson said that even at the lower end, De Bortoli wants to make wines "with a sense of place". "We still want multiples to get interesting products," he emphasised.

It has also become more discerning about who its good independent customers are, and rewards them with incentives. "We want to offer these customers better pricing, better availability and first refusal on some smaller parcels. We want to make them feel special," he said.

"We have some great customers but we have some indies who could do an awful lot more," he added.

As for the overall category, Wilson advocates a return to Chardonnay. "It's not just about us or even just Australia, we've got to convince consumers that they should take another look at the grape variety."
"It's come full circle, now you're getting the finesse and subtlety with Chardonnay that you're not getting with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc," he added.

In his capacity as think tank member for Wine Australia, he is encouraged by progress, but feels that, "in recent history we've been talking about how Australians make serious wine, but now we need to focus on how to make serious wines fun".

The firm will take over distribution of the premium wine PHI from Alliance Wine over the next few months. PHI is a joint venture by De Bortoli winemaker Steve Webber and Stephen Shelmerdine from the Shelmerdine family winery,