Top Australian wineries team up to push super-premium wines

A powerful group of 12 family wineries are launching an attack to try to silence mounting international criticism that Australia only produces cheap, commercial wines.

‘Australia’s First Families of Wine’, collectively worth AUD$1.2 billion and with annual sales of almost $1bn – one fifth of Australia’s total sales – is planning to spend between $500,000 and $600,000 a year promoting its premium and super-premium wines.

The campaign will begin in the UK early next year targeting key ‘influencers,’ including gastro-pub operators and journalists.

It will then cover Australia before moving to North America and later to China.

Member wineries include 160-year-old Yalumba Wines. Other members are Brown Brothers, Campbells, d’Arenberg, De Bortoli, Henschke, Howard Park, Jim Barry, McWilliam’s, Tahbilk, Taylors and Tyrrell’s.

The group’s chairman, Tahbilk chief executive, Alister Purbrick, said the group was formed because of increasingly negative comments about Australia only producing ‘sunshine in a bottle’ wines and not fine wines.

Strict criteria has been set for membership, including ownership for at least two or more generations, icon brands which can support 20-year vertical tastings, and ownership of vineyards more than 50 years old.

‘We set such a high bar so that when we go to the global wine community we can do so from a platform of absolute integrity and credibility,’ Purbrick said.

Purbrick added that comments such as those in the interview with Andrew Caillard, currently on, and published in the current issue of Decanter magazine were exactly the messages the group planned to promote. Subscribe here

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Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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