Looking to grow their exporting capabilities to take advantage of expanding wine markets in Asia, Victorian wine producer St Anne’s Vineyard turned to the Victorian Government’s Grow Your Business (GYB) program for assistance.
St Anne’s Vineyard is a state-of-the-art wine producer, encompassing vineyards in nine locations and producing more than four million litres of award winning reds, whites and rosé a year. Together with his sister Anne, Richard McLean presides over an ever-expanding business that includes four cellar door outlets, a restaurant and function centre and even retail outlets.
“We’re a proud family business that stretches back to the early 1970s. However, we have always mainly focussed on the domestic market and wanted to expand our export opportunities. “
The Free Trade Agreement, a lower Australian dollar and the rapid expansion of the North Asian wine markets mean this is an opportune time for Australian wine producers to expand their operations. But Richard and Anne were unfamiliar with export processes, lacked an international distribution network and didn’t know how to best select target markets to focus on for export.
“What we needed was a real plan, a roadmap for exporting our wine.”
“We knew our production processes and pricing were on point. What we didn’t have, and what the GYB Program gave us, was a comprehensive export plan.”
The Victorian Government provided St. Anne’s Vineyard with financial assistance through the Grow Your Business program to engage CVEN – a group of international trade specialists who are passionate about export development.
CVEN worked with the McLean family to complete a strategic review of the business and create a targeted export development plan, which identified that an international distribution network and customer base were needed. The Plan outlined the necessary actions to develop their international networks and grow their customer base in South Korea, Taiwan and particularly China, where there is a strong demand for complex wines and varieties.
“From a governance point of view, the process was comprehensive and delivered huge benefits. We discovered that our pricing was very sharp in China and that we should target that market aggressively. It was a great result for us as there’s a definite trend towards the consumption of premium Australian wines in China, particularly among young people.”
The Business Today
Because St Anne’s has full control of its production processes, it has been remarkably adept at meeting the shifting demands of the export market. Since undertaking the GYB program, the company has increased its number of employees and its new export label, the Tatalia range of red wines, has proved immensely popular in China.
“The proof is in the pudding. There are three people working here who wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the funding assistance we received from the GYB program”
“Without it, our exports would have been floundering. There is no doubt that the work we were able to complete with our GYB grant will lead to opportunities to grow further into Asia and to take on more employees in the coming years.”
Grow Your Business Program
The program provides eligible Victorian small businesses with financial assistance to engage independent specialists to help them boost productivity, increase employment and become internationally competitive. Each year the program assists approximately 200 businesses to develop a plan for growth.