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Regional Development within South Australia
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Regional Development within South Australia

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A research conducted within the regions of Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra to understand how these South Australian wine regions are utilising diverse marketing tools to reach their public both …

A research conducted within the regions of Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra to understand how these South Australian wine regions are utilising diverse marketing tools to reach their public both domestically and internationally.


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  • 1. Regional Development within South Australia:
    An analysis of the current situation and proposal for future developments.
    BereniceAxisa MSc in Wine Business
    ESC Dijon, France
  • 2. This study was conducted to benefit the Australian wine industry, in particular the regions of Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra on different outcomes:
    To understand how these South Australian wine regions are utilising diverse marketing tools to reach their public both domestically and internationally.
    To understand the benefits of different regional systems and how funds are used to reach the objectives of these regional associations.
    To understand which marketing strategies and tools are being neglected and how can these be developed for the benefit of the region as a whole.
  • 3. The research was conducted by using two forms of data collection:
    A. Phase one consisted of a review of existing literature which gave an understanding of the marketing principles and strategies used to build regional brand awareness.
    B. Phase two was based on qualitative data collected through interviews conducted with key stakeholders in the regions of Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
  • 4. Country of Origin
    As reported by Mowle and Merrilees (2005) wine regionality is an important piece of information for the consumer whilst evaluating a label and plays an important role in the decision making process; adding regional information on the wine product can increase consumer confidence in the quality of wine purchase.
    In Europe research by Skuras and Vakrou (2002), Koewn and Casey (1995) and Gluckman (1990) suggests that country of origin is a primary and implicit consideration of consumers in their decision to purchase wine.
    Batt and Dean (2000) found that the origin of the wine was the third most important variable influencing consumers’ decision to purchase wine in Australia.
  • 5. Australia: origin branding and its effects
    Regional Heroes is one of the four brand segments that aims to generate more interest in the brand of Australia. The category consists of ‘wines from somewhere rather than wines from anywhere’ (Wine Australia, 2008).
    The regionality concept has brought together both grape variety and a sense of place which adds value to Australian wine on the marketplace.
    Wine Australia chose 15 Regional Hero styles based around region and variety pairings they considered to be the most widely recognised (e.g. Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, McLaren Vale Shiraz).
  • 6. Research Questions
    What are the current marketing and branding strategies adopted by Barossa, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale?
    Which marketing tools are being neglected?
    How can these regions strengthen their image on local and international markets?
  • 7. Regions Selected: Barossa/Eden Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
    The regions have been selected on the basis of grape quality and brand recognition within the Australian industry.
    Dr Johan Bruwer’s summary of wine region awareness:
    According to this study the wine regions chosen to study have a level of awareness between 20% to 50% for McLaren Vale and Coonawarra whilst higher than 50% for Barossa.
  • 8. Regions Selected: Barossa/Eden Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
    Grape quality was assessed according the super premium price of grapes per tonnes paid for coming from these regions during the 2008 harvest.
    McLaren Vale demanded the highest price for the super premium grapes whilst Barossa and Coonawarra demanded $1726/tonnes and $1676/tonnes respectively which ranks them 3rd and 4th place after the region of Adeliade Hills.
  • 9. Results: Brand Identity
    “There could always be more, Barossa does have a good profile domestically and internationally but way behind the prestigious regions of AOC France, DOCG Italy etc. The best way to improve awareness is to make better wine and regionally focus on quality above all else. Less supermarket wine and wine made purely for cash flow purposes. Barossa is one of a few pre-phylloxera old vine regions in the world. This is a real selling point and equates to quality at all levels.” (Andrew Tierney, Sales and Export Director, Torbreck)
    “I am in favour of the regional promotional strategy as a concept, but think in McLaren Vale’s situation we have relatively poor execution. This is largely because the South Australian State Government does not view McLaren Vale as a distinct wine region, and prefers to market the region as Fleurieu Peninsula that incorporates Victor Harbor, Langhorne Creek, Goolwa and a number of other locations that are found on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The reason this is unsatisfactory is for the consumers of McLaren Vale wine they will be totally unaware that we are found on the Fleurieu Peninsula, a name that is not only non-descriptive but also difficult to spell and pronounce.” (Tom Harvey, Director, Chalk Hill)
  • 10. Results: National Marketing Strategies
    “Creating a compelling story about the region which can be sod as a destination; this can include history, art, natural resources, sea and of course food and wine”. (Marc Allgrove, CEO, Chapel Hill)
    “We should take Coonawarra to the consumers. There are many wine regions close to the cities where the consumer can venture for a day or too. We are too isolated therefore we should branch out to the customer. Either this or we have to create a destination which other regions don’t offer and this is harder to achieve.” (Fiona Luestner, Marketing Manager, Rymill)
  • 11. Results: International Marketing Strategies
    “I just don’t think we are creating enough buzz about the region. We should embrace social media like other wine regions are doing. This can only increase awareness and brand image.” (Sue Hodder, Senior Winemaker, Wynns Estate)
    “We once held the Coonawarra road show in the UK which was a great success. It’s really a pity this hasn’t been organized again since the UK is a very important market for any winery.” (Karen Ronning, Marketing Manager, Zema Estate)
    “No one really knows what the Other Red Centre means. Also the connotation with Other insinuates that we are second to another region which is surely not the right image we want to portray.” (Lisa Gulyas, Administration & Events Officer, CoonawarraVignerons Association)
  • 12. Limitations
    Questionsposed during the structured interviews were too closed and direct, which limited the prospect of exploring any emerging themes during the interviews.
    Interviewerspent the period of this study living in the region of Coonawarra therefore information about this region was more easily acquired and personal bias could have influenced results based on observations made.
    Limitation of resources of time and money did not make it possible for the interviewer to extend interviews to a broader audience.
  • 13. Further Research
    Directly related to this study - structured questionnaires aimed at consumer visiting cellar doors within the different regions can add great value and sustained interviews made in this study.
    ‘Double Jeopardy’ in relation to regional branding. This phenomenon suggests that brands with large market shares hold a greater number of loyal customers and a larger consumer base (Ehrenberg, Goodhardt and Barwise, 1990). With the plethora of new regions and sub-regions surfacing around the world this study could lead to reassessment of regional branding both in the Old World and New World countries.

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