New Oz wine boss promises fresh approach

07 January, 2011

The new head of Wine Australia has pledged to inject a sense of the country’s personality and colour into its generic marketing efforts as it seeks to redefine its image.

Yvonne May will take up the position of director for UK, Ireland & Europe on January 17, following what Wine Australia describes as an “exhaustive” recruitment process after the resignation of Lisa McGovern in September. May has more than 25 years experience in the trade, including a six-year stint as Rosemount’s UK & European marketing manager, after which she set up a wine PR and marketing agency.

Outling her vision for the category, she told OLN: “I really felt Australia wasn’t getting the coverage it deserved. It’s about boosting awareness of the best of Australia and repositioning the category. We need to create activity that shows the breadth of Australia, which is considerable.

“I’m keen for it to be done in a very Australian style – lively and informal. What fired me up when I first got involved with Australia 20 years ago was the enthusiasm and directness – I want to get back to that.”?The generic body has come under fire for failing to represent the interests of big brand owners and criticising supermarkets’ “unethical” pricing policies, saying they are devaluing the category (OLN, November 12).

May said that, while she understood the need for “grocers to meet certain price points”, the prominence of deep discounts had fostered a perception that these were the only wines Australia was capable of delivering.

She added: “Wine at £4 a bottle is difficult because of the cumulative taxes and it’s not profitable. But I have huge respect for the contribution supermarkets have made.

“Once you get over £6 Australia has some of the most diverse wines. It also has strong, reliable brands such as Jacob’s Creek and Hardys, which have their place, and consumers buying them deserve our attention. I don’t understand why there has to be one message. We need communication plans that are relevant to all strands.”?

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