Virtual wine tastings are translating to real-life sales for local wineries, with help from the South West Development Commission’s TradeStart team.
Woodlands Wines recently received a large order for its chardonnay on the back of participating in a virtual event targeting the Japanese market.
Attended by trade representatives in Japan, the virtual tasting connected the Margaret River winery with key wine buyers and sommeliers.
“We actually received an order almost within a week – and of the wine we were featuring,” Woodlands Wines commercial director Andrew Watson said.
“What made this so successful was that it was a partnership between the WA Government, our highly respected importer, and our wineries.”
The virtual tasting was a pilot initiative by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), supported by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, SWDC and Austrade Tradestart advisers from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.
SWDC partners with Austrade to provide TradeStart services in the region, enabling local small and medium sized exporters to receive locally-based assistance to achieve long-term success in international markets.
SWDC chief executive officer Mellisa Teede said virtual wine tastings were a fantastic way for local wineries to strategically promote their products to an influential audience.
“Inbound trade missions have in the past brought trade representatives into the region to sample wine and meet with winemakers, but the global COVID-19 pandemic has put such activities on hold,” Ms Teede said.
“Amid border closures and a challenging trade environment, virtual tastings are proving a valuable tool for wineries wanting to reach potential customers in overseas markets.
“By connecting with customers using videoconferencing platforms, winemakers have the opportunity to talk directly to potential customers about their wine and our wonderful region.
“The Margaret River region and wider South West’s clean, green and safe image is a great selling point.”
DPIRD primary industries trade manager I-Lyn Loo said virtual engagement events are proving to be very valuable and effective tools to promote WA’s premium agrifood products.
“As result of the success of these online presentations, we are continuing our partnership on these with the South West Development Commission, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, and WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” Ms Loo said.
“Even when face-to-face promotions are able to resume, this very innovative approach will remain an important part of the suite of activities undertaken to support our world-class agrifood sector.”