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Wolf Blass pops the cork - Australian wine giant moves on expansion deal in Thailand

PHUKET: Bangkok Beer and Beverages Co has recently sealed a deal for exclusive Thailand distribution rights for Wolf Blass, one of Australia’s most successful winemakers.


Mark Knowles

Saturday 17 September 2016, 01:00PM


Chris Hatcher (left), Head winemaker for Wolf Blass, with Bart Duijkers (right), Area Director – South for Bangkok Beer and Beverages, announced the deal in Phuket last weekend.
Chris Hatcher (left), Head winemaker for Wolf Blass, with Bart Duijkers (right), Area Director – South for Bangkok Beer and Beverages, announced the deal in Phuket last weekend.

Head winemaker for Wolf Blass Chris Hatcher recently visited Phuket to host an exclusive dinner at Bliss Beach Club, to mark the newly inked partnership, and showcase the brand’s range of premium wines.

Bart Duijkers, Area Director – South for Bangkok Beer and Beverages, said he is pleased with timing of the deal, as the island gears up for high season.

“Not only is it a prestige brand, but it is exciting that the brand was already on the island and now its coming to us, so it’s a real opportunity for us to grow it,” said Mr Duijkers.

“We are starting with a good range, from entry level to premium, so I think we can represent the brand very well,” he said.

“It couldn’t come at a better time, because September and October are contracting months so most restaurants write their wine lists once a year at this time and by November its all done and dusted, so it is a perfect time,” he added.

Mr Hatcher said he hopes the new deal will open the way for Wolf Blass to increase sales of their premium and ultra-premium label wines in the Kingdom.

Wolf Blass is a key player in the Australian market, with annual earnings in 2014 of AUS$100 million.

“The previous distributor only really focused on our entry point wines and we wanted to showcase our whole portfolio. If you look at the success Wolf Blass has had around the world it really driven by our mid-range wines and above,” said Mr Hatcher.

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Wolf Blass was founded in Australia in 1966 by German winemaker Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass. The company gained its first success in 1974 when it won the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy, an accolade that is still considered Australia’s most prestigious and sought after wine award.

Since then the company has gone on to receive a string of awards cementing its place as one of Australia’s leading wine producers. Most recently, the company garnered the Red Winemaker of the Year award at the prestigious International Wine Challenge in London, for the third time.

“We are very keen on winning wine competitions as it helps give us a third party endorsement to show our customers that we can compete with international wines,” said Mr Hatcher.

Wolf Blass has also signed sponsorship deals with major sporting organisations this year, including the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPB) in Japan, National Basketball Association (NBA) in Greater China and Manchester City Football Club.

“More than 300 million people follow the NBA in China and many of them fit our key demographic of affluent people of ages 25-35, it’s the same in South Korea and Japan. Now with our sponsorship of Manchester [we can tap in to] their huge following in Asia as well.

“The Manchester deal is important for our point-of-sale displays in retails stores and it helps people realise wine should be a bit of fun, that it’s not all serious,” said Mr Hatcher.

Mr Hatcher is also keen to encourage restaurants and hotels to sell more wine by-the-glass as a way of introducing customers to the more premium wines in their portfolio.

“Wine by the glass is huge in Australia, and I think its an opportunity for people to spend a little bit more and try a few more wines rather than buying a whole bottle,” he added.

 

 

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