Funding has been confirmed for a $500,000 three-year programme to increase awareness and sales of Hawke’s Bay wine into China.
Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ Inc., the regional organisation representing local grape growers and winemakers, has secured a dollar for dollar grant from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), an agribusiness trust, to get a collaborative China marketing project underway.
The programme includes up to nine education and tasting events per year in addition to PR and social media campaigns.
"This campaign is the largest international collaborative campaign we have ever undertaken," says James Medina, HBWG executive officer. "China is hugely important for Hawke’s Bay given this region’s strength as a premium red wine producer and the Chinese strong preference for reds.
"We will use our red wine story as the lead-in to tell the story of all Hawke’s Bay wines and sub-regions."
In addition to the 17 Hawke’s Bay wineries that are putting money into the scheme it had been important to have the support of the Hastings District Council and Mayor Lawrence Yule, says Mr Medina.
"The Council initiated our first look at a collaborative model a year and a half ago by bringing in an influential Chinese business consultant. Although that particular venture did not pan out, the momentum helped us get to where we are now," he says.
The council had also included HBWG in an Icehouse industry workshop on China, and provided exposure to its sister-city relationship with Guilin and to other visiting Chinese contingents.
Mr Medina says the significance of the local winery collaboration could not be understated.
"Acting individually we would make little impact on building the Hawke’s Bay wine region brand, but collectively we will make great strides in a shorter time frame.
"This is clearly an example of where our wineries can collaborate, yet still compete. In reality, we are competing against France, Italy, Spain, Australia and the other large wine producing countries."
Local wineries participating are Abbey Cellars, Alpha Domus, Babich Wines, Crossroads, Elephant Hill. Mills Reef, Moana Park Winery, Ngatarawa Wines, Paritua Vineyards and Winery, Pask Winery, Sileni Estates, Te Mata Estate Winery, Trinity Hill, Vidal, Mission Estate, Squawking Magpie, and Rod McDonald Wines.
Others may join the campaign in future months.
The programme will target Chinese trade, media and key influencers to educate them on Hawke’s Bay’s wine and in particular the 17 participating wineries, through a three-year funding of seminars and tastings in multiple regional markets, including ‘first tier’ cities for the campaign, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
Social media and media activities will also be employed to engage with the targeted contacts.
The aim is to increase Hawke’s Bay wine exports by sourcing distribution channels into China and developing relationships with trade, media and key influencers.
To facilitate the development of those relationships, the programme will contract third parties that Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers has worked with previously and know the Hawke’s Bay wine region.
One of the first initiatives in the programme is to create a Mandarin section on the HBWG website.
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