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Global Growth Strategy For Beringer Blass Wine

New Name Defines Global Growth Strategy For Beringer Blass Wine Estates

The world’s leading premium wine group, created in October 2000 by the union of Beringer Wine Estates (BWE) and Mildara Blass Limited (MBL) within the Foster’s Brewing Group, today announced a new name to mark the launch of its global growth strategy.

The wine group is now called Beringer Blass Wine Estates (Beringer Blass), incorporating the names of the flagship Californian and Australian wine brands. Beringer Blass Wine Estates includes the company’s entire combined portfolio of premium and luxury wines.

“Our new name signals our future direction, which is to maximise our combined strengths in high-return, high-growth wine markets worldwide,” said Mr Terry Davis, Managing Director of Beringer Blass.

“Across the world, we have combined our wine trade sales representation to ensure that customers benefit fully from our unrivalled capability in premium winemaking, brand management and international distribution. Market by market, we’re also targeting our sales efforts to meet the needs of different customer segments.”

Management appointments

Three key group management appointments recognise the global nature of the wine business and the strength of the combined management team.

BWE’s CEO, Walt Klenz, will lead the global trade brand development panel, as well as continuing as CEO of Beringer Blass’ trade operations in the US.

BWE Chief Financial Officer, Pete Scott, will assume additional global financial planning and strategy responsibilities for the wine group while continuing to manage finance and administration for the US trade operation.

Peter Perrin, Director of International Sales for MBL, assumes responsibility for the combined wine group’s international sales outside of Australia and the US.

Other senior management appointments will occur progressively to reflect the growth ambitions of the organisation.

United States

In the United States, which accounts for more than 50% of Beringer Blass’ groupwide case sales, revenue and assets, the wine trade channel’s 95-strong sales force has been structured to drive growth in three key customer segments – premium, luxury and on-premise.

In those American states where BWE and MBL have shared distributors, the sales force will represent the combined portfolio of brands. Elsewhere (about 30% of the country), Australian wine brands will be represented by a dedicated sales group within the Beringer Blass US operation.

MBL’s sales office in North Carolina will be combined with BWE’s Napa Valley office by 1 July 2001, when all trade operations in the US will move to Beringer’s advanced financial and marketing reporting systems. The Napa office will provide financial and systems support to the European trade sales operations over the next year.

Europe and Asia

Beringer Blass aims to increase export sales of the wine group’s Californian premium wine portfolio using MBL’s and BWE’s existing network of international distributors, with the European market, particularly the UK, as top priority.

Two European sales offices will manage the distribution drive, targeting five-star hotels, upmarket restaurants and premium liquor outlets.

The former MBL sales office in London will manage the sales drive in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. A second European sales office will drive sales growth on the Continent, highlighting the wine group’s commitment to locate sales representatives close to each target market.

In the UK, the market share for Californian wines has risen from 4.2% in 1998 to 6.3% in 2000 – approximately 29% growth year on year. In comparison, Australian wine now has a market share in the UK of 15.8% by volume, growing at 31% year on year.

“Ten years ago, the market share for Australian wines in the UK was 2.6% compared with 1.7% for Californian wines,” said Mr Davis. “So we are confident about the prospects for Californian wines in this market, given their recent strong growth rate.”

On the continent, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland will be targeted, as they have experienced the fastest growth for Californian bottled table wines.

The wine group’s sales representation in Asia has also been strengthened, with MBL’s export manager for the region relocating to Singapore and increasing the sales effort in the high-growth potential markets of northern Asia. Californian wines sell well in Japan and Taiwan, where their market share is greater than for Australian wines.

Australia

In Australia, Beringer Blass will target a number of high prestige on-premise establishments to raise the profile of the wine group’s Californian luxury wines.

“Australia is not a priority target market for our Californian wine exports, because most Australians want to drink Australian wine,” said Mr Davis.

“Our strategic focus in Australia is to upgrade wine processing infrastructure to cater for Beringer Blass’ combined growth in target export markets.

“We will take advantage of Beringer’s unparalleled success in selling luxury wines in the US market through an exciting collaboration between Beringer Winemaster Ed Sbragia and our Chief Winemaker in Australia, Chris Hatcher, who will explore joint winemaking opportunities in Australia..

“Taking the lead from our US marketing success, we will also increase support and marketing spend for our core Australian brands. ”

As well as outdoor and print campaigns for brands such as Yellowglen, Yellow Chardonnay and Red Shiraz, the Australian business has launched its first-ever television campaign with the $2 million Wolf Blass “Always at its Peak” campaign which commenced last month.

Several key Australian wineries will be renamed to emphasise their unique heritage and wine brand success.

The Beringer Blass name will apply immediately to electronic communications (email, web sites etc.), while new stationery, publications and signage will be completed by 1 July 2001. With a common “look and feel” globally, the wine group’s new visual identity features Beringer’s Rhine House symbol in the US, the Wolf Blass eagle in Australia and a combination of the two elsewhere.

“The most crucial aspect of our overall renaming approach is a renewed focus on core brand support and brand differentiation at the consumer level,” said Mr Davis. “Our absolute priority is to nurture and promote the individual identities of our wineries, winemakers and wines, taking pride in their unique styles and stories. ”

Beringer Blass Wine Estates has wine trade sales offices in the following countries:

* USA (California, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Florida)

* Australia (all mainland capital cities)

* Canada

* United Kingdom

* Switzerland

* New Zealand

* Singapore

* Hong Kong.


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