Rutherglen wines look to expand market to Asia

RUTHERGLEN wines may soon grace restaurant tables in China and South East Asia.

The Victorian government yesterday announced an inbound trade mission, which will encourage 100 international wine buyers to visit Rutherglen and other wine regions next year.

Minister for Tourism and Trade Louise Asher said the mission would provide an opportunity for Rutherglen winemakers.

“China is the No.1 export for Victorian wine but not for this region,” she said.

The government will spend $500,000 to allow the buyers to visit Victorian wine regions.

Ms Asher said the success of the mission was also likely to help create new jobs.

“I can’t make a promise but if markets are expanded and companies here have the opportunity to export then it is likely,” she said.

Winemaker and Winemakers of Rutherglen Association chairman Damien Cofield said the government had taken a step in the right direction.

“The fact we don’t have to organise ourselves to go to foreign markets is a great benefit,” he said.

“Qualified wine buyers will be brought to our neck of the woods and we can focus more on sales.”

Mr Cofield said when winemakers had previously travelled internationally, they found themselves attempting to strike business relationships with those who did not need wine.

“In this case they are seeking it and our association is working hard to make sure we get our piece of the pie when they arrive,” he said.

Mr Cofield said exporting product was vital to the wine industry.

“A lot of wineries in this area are small businesses and it will give us more revenue streams and stable business and we will not be relying solely on cellar door sales.”

The buyers will visit in the first half of next year.