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Australia dumbing down wines for US market

Following on from the runaway success of the wine brand Yellow Tail, larger Australian producers are set to cash in on the so-called ‘fun’ brands.

McGuigan Simeon Wines has launched its own Crocodile Rock label – named after an Elton John song and Southcorp plans to launch Little Penguin later this year. The origin behind the Little Penguin name is as yet unclear.

Both new releases are aimed at the US market.

With the runaway success of the (Australian) Yellow Tail brand, made by Casella Wines and now selling an average 1 million cases per year in the US. Yellow Tail commands 35% of the Australian wines in America.

Brian McGuigan, head of McGuigan Simeon was quick to praise Casella boss John Casella.

‘I say unreservedly that John has opened up a fantastic section of the American market and we’d like to have some of it as well,’ he told the Melbourne Age.

Yellow Tail represents cheap, untraditional but well-made wine. Since its release in the US only two years ago, it has sold 2.5 million cases, highlighting the importance of the non-traditional market.

American winemakers E & J Gallo are expected to release their ‘fun’ brand, Red Bicyclette, made from French wine, later this year.

All the new releases are expected to retail at the US$5-10 mark. Yellow Tail wines are currently priced between US$5.99 and US$6.99.

Written by Oliver Styles

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