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18/08/2009

The Heart & Soul of Australian wine to launch in Sydney on Monday 31 August

Twelve of the most celebrated family names in Australian wine will come together to form a global marketing initiative — Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW), to be officially launched at the Sydney Opera House on Monday 31 August.

The collective 12 represent Australian regions across four States. Together, they own more than 5500ha of Australia’s finest vineyards and have more than 1200 years of winemaking experience under their belts.

The inaugural members of the AFFW are:

  • • Brown Brothers (Victoria)
  • • Campbells (Victoria)
  • • d’Arenberg (South Australia)
  • • De Bortoli (NSW)
  • • Henschke (South Australia)
  • • Howard Park (Western Australia)
  • • Jim Barry (South Australia)
  • • McWilliam’s (NSW)
  • • Tahbilk (Victoria)
  • • Taylors (South Australia)
  • • Tyrrell’s (NSW)
  • • Yalumba (South Australia)
  • As 12 of the nation’s most famous names in wine, the AFFW will work to engage consumers, retailers, restaurateurs and industry members across the globe about the real character and characters of Australian wine.

    The inaugural chairman of the AFFW is Alister Purbrick of Victorian winery Tahbilk, himself a fourth generation winemaker and custodian of one of the Victorian wine industry’s most precious jewels – the 150 year old Tahbilk winery on the banks of the Goulburn River.

    “While as family winemakers we all value our independence, we do share a common vision – that Australian wine can take on the world’s best and win,” Purbrick said.

    “There have been some recent stories on the subject of Australian wine quality that we all believe, to put it bluntly, are complete rubbish.

    “If there is a collective of families anywhere in the world combining such character, such heritage, such personality and such great wine as this one we have yet to see it and we doubt we will.”

    Purbrick and his colleagues have been working behind the scenes on the creation of the AFFW for more than three years – the meeting where the idea of the group was first mooted was held in July 2006 before Wine Australia in Sydney.

    “Although the Australian wine industry has achieved great success over many years and continues to dominate the UK wine market as the number one wine importer, the AFFW recognises the need to continually evolve and keep ahead of our competitors.

    “The wine industry’s exports to the UK and US are declining in overall value and price per litre. Competing purely on price is not sustainable and is not a long-term competitive advantage. The AFFW will showcase the passion, quality and character of our wine brands that can compete against the world’s best and win,” he said.

    Paul Henry, general manager market development of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, believes the initiative is positive for the wineries involved and for Australian wine in general.

    “The future must belong to those companies that can tell a compelling and authentic story which can only be described as uniquely Australian. The AFFW initiative exemplifies this philosophy and can play a role in the next chapter of our international and domestic success,” Henry said.

    The AFFW will pursue their individual business goals with the shared purpose of being a part of a strong collective. The group will gather together on occasions throughout the world to show the spirit of Australian winemaking is alive and well, indeed thriving as never before.

    Each winery represents a special place in the Australian wine echelon and makes a range of wines of character and personality – whether they be great value varietals or single vineyard icons. Equally each family understands its responsibility to defend and promote Australia’s pre-eminent place in the world of wine and their own custodianship of some of Australian wine’s 'sacred sites'.

    James Halliday, Australia’s leading wine authority said of the new group: “The challenges for Australia are clear enough. What Australia’s First Families of Wine can and will do is turn words into actions, ambitions into concrete results.”

    The new AFFW logo will adorn selected bottles of each winery’s best-known wines and the group plans to launch into the European market in May 2010.