Transcription from the WA Wines in Texas radio interview, ABC South West WA /Georgia Hargreaves.
Georgia: “The WA Wine Industry wants to see more of our wines on the shelves of stores in Texas. Larry Jorgensen is the CEO of Wines of WA, and he says the market in Texas is pretty appealing for a number of reasons.”
Larry: “Well, I think there are a couple of things Georgia, one is demographically it’s a good fit. Wa and Margaret River wines in particular are higher price point, premium positioning and there is very strong demand in a lot of the larger cities for that type of wine and in particular Cabernet based wine. WA is very strong in that category, so it looks like a logical place. And I guess it’s not as congested as some of the other more traditional markets in the United States. The eastern seaboard often is very crowded with European and other country offers and the West Coast, particularly California is obviously very parochial towards their own wines.
Georgia: “Okay, so what sort of demographic are the buyers in Texas?”
Larry: “Well, we know what the main driving industry is there and it’s largely resource based. But having said that, the larger cities of Dallas, Austin and Houston, have progressive demographics, people involved in IT, people involved in high level knowledge work, etc. And it seems to be quite a vibrant kind of cultural scene there and also food and wine scene so it fits well for us there.
I guess it’s also a younger demographic, so not quite as entrenched in their wine preferences, willing to be a bit more experimental, a bit more adventurous and willing to be convinced of the value of Western Australian Cabernet. “
Georgia: “Yeah, so how will you be marketing our wines to them? You know, what’s the point of difference for us in WA?”
Larry: “Well, I guess there are two things, one is that Western Australian Cabernets are benchmarked against the best in the world, our best producers certainly hold their own against anybody anywhere. And we’re better value for money. So I guess it’s those propositions, one we’re very good, two we are just slightly more affordable and just a little bit different. Probably branding wise and the way we look doesn’t make us look quite as Chateau like and traditional. So, if you’re an adventurous younger wine consumer, that might be something that if you’re confident in your judgments that you would be happy to take on something that looks a bit different.”
Georgia: “Yeah. Okay. Interesting. And just for some context, how has the WA presence in the US changed over the years would you say?”
Larry: “Well, over the last 10 years, just in looking at Cabernet, in 2010. We were looking at aggregated volumes and value of just over 38,000 litres into the market at an aggregated value of $370,000, at just about $9.55 per litre.This year in comparison to that same period last year is more like 120,000 litres. $2 million aggregated and $15.20 per litre. So, we’ve grown the amount that we export there, and we’ve increased the value per litre. So that’s pretty hard work to do, particularly with how things have been over these last three years where doing any kind of export market work has been very difficult or virtual.
But we’ve managed to grow the amount that we sell, and we’ve managed to increase the value per liter at which we sell it. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Chardonnay and Cabernet are the two strongest varieties in the United States. Very great market for us, so those being the two strongest white and red varietals in WA It just looks like the right place to be and then Texas looks like the best place to establish a presence and work from there.”