Wine News 

McGuigan Pursuing Growth in Wine Markets From China to U.K., U.S.

May 23, 2018

McGuigan is looking to expand its export markets in markets ranging from Asia to Britain and the United States, and describes the opportunities in China as ``huge.''

 McGuigan poster at London's Bank tube station. Photo: Guy Collins

McGuigan, which is part of Australian Vintage Ltd., has agreements with two Chinese distributors, one of them China Foods unit COFCO for its McGuigan brand wines. ``We think that relationship is going to blossom,'' AVL Chief Executive Officer Neil McGuigan said this week in a phone interview from Dublin. 

The second accord is with Vintage China for other labels Australian Vintage's portfolio, including Tempus Two and Nepenthe, McGuigan said. Vintage China, which is linked to Chinese online wine retailer YesMyWine, now owns a 13 percent stake in the Australian business as part of the deal.

McGuigan stressed that the company is taking a ``balanced approach'' to expanding exports geographically, and is concerned to work on multiple markets simultaneously.

In the U.K. he said that Brexit ``hurt us in 2016,'' denting profit for fiscal year 2017. But instead of retreating, ``we put on more sales people and a significant advertizing campaign in the U.K., Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We're the third-largest global brand in the U.K. and we're growing at 18 percent.''

McGuigan is also back in the U.S. market after an absence of more than a decade, having emerged from a non-compete arrangement with E. & J. Gallo following an earlier collaboration. 

Alongside an entry level wine, McGuigan is targeting higher-end consumers with its McGuigan Hand Made, pitched at around $40 a bottle, and McGuigan Philosophy, at between $75 and $80.

McGuigan said a favorable exchange rate, an evolving food culture in the U.S. and consumer's appetite for Australian wine styles, market by voluptuous fruit, all combined to make America an attractive market. ``When you have a food culture, the wine culture follows,'' he said. ``We're seizing the moment in the U.S.''



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