Halliday Trade Forum wrap

By J'aime Cardillo

5 Sep, 2023

On August 3 members of the wine industry gathered at the Prince Deck in St Kilda for the inaugural Halliday Trade Forum – here's a wrap up of the event.

On Thursday August 3, winemakers, marketers, and industry professionals came together at the Prince Deck in St Kilda for a day of insights and thought-provoking conversation.

The morning kicked off with a review of the Australian wine trends that came out of the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion. During the months of June 2022 and April 2023, the Halliday Tasting Team reviewed close to 8500 wines from across 1100 wineries. Each taster has their finger on the pulse when it comes to what's happening in the industry.

The panel, led by Jane Faulkner, consisted of fellow Tasting Team member Philip Rich, sommelier and wine educator Leanne Altmann (Trader House) and viticulturist and winemaker Tessa Brown (Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown). The panel covered value in wine and how we define it, and the growing use of amphorae, eggs and concrete tanks – a trend driven by the financial and environmental cost of oak.

Panel members Amy van Bekkum, Stacey McArdle,  Amy Scott, Iain Calvert and Jordy HeisAmy van Bekkum, Stacey McArdle, Amy Scott, Iain Calvert and Jordy Heis.

“Large format vessels, including foudres and concrete tanks, are definitely on the up. It’s really cool, the way it does change the flavour profile of the wines.” – Jane Faulkner.

This year, higher levels of residual sugar were used in textural white wines, but that doesn't necessarily mean the wines are sweeter. The use of residual sugar (RS) adds texture and balance. Other trends that came out of the texture discussion included extended skin contact, time on lees, and seasoned oak use.

“The idea that RS is a faux pas or that a ‘sweet’ riesling is going to be cloying has really changed. I think consumers have not only accepted a sugar and acid balance, it is something they’re actively looking for.” – Shanteh Wale.

Perhaps one of the most exciting trends is the rise of alternative varieties – especially those ending in 'o'. Montepulciano knocked durif out of the top 10 most-reviewed red varieties for the 2024 Companion.

Phlip RichPhilip Rich.

Our second panel championed selling direct to consumers. Headed up by eCommerce consultant Iain Calvert, the panel was made up of Tide PR managing director Stacey McArdle, Reload Media product director Amy Scott, Brown Family Wine Group global PR communications manager Amy van Bekkum and Shopify senior retail product consultant Jordy Heis.

The panel spoke about the importance of email marketing (including how often you should use it and why Iain thinks the term 'best practice' isn't necessarily the way to go), how and when to implement a PR strategy and how the use of AI can enhance your business. A key takeaway? Every brand needs a story, and creating a brand with a story that people care about is the ultimate way to compete in this ever-changing market.

After lunch the group split into two specialist streams: 'Decanting digital: Key trends shaping marketing in 2023 and how to maximise them' and the 'Shiraz at First Site' masterclass led by Philip Rich.

Decanting Digital, hosted by Reload's Amy Scott, covered the emerging trends in digital marketing, how to engage with consumers in a post pandemic world (and strategies to hold their attention). The masterclass with Philip Rich featured a deep dive into eight standout shiraz wines, and a discussion about how the Tasting Team approach the judging through the year, and then as a collective at the annual Awards judging.

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