view over vineyards with mountain background - Southern crossing

Argentina is getting more attention in Australia – and not just for its rugby

Ask any Australian who has travelled overseas, and they’ll tell you that these days you can’t go anywhere in the world without meeting at least one other fellow Australian. Whether it’s skiing in Canada, backpacking in Mexico or jumping off bridges in Bosnia- you’re going to encounter a fellow traveller from down under.

As a nation, we’re curious beings, and this interest in what the rest of the world has to offer isn’t just exclusive to travel. Whilst we might have access to a plethora of both red and white wines made in our own backyard, we’re becoming increasingly more adventurous with our wine choices.

Historically, when choosing imported wine Australians weren’t wanting to venture further than across the ditch to our closest neighbours. Whilst New Zealand still remains our number one market in terms of imported wines, other countries are slowly joining the party. Although 87% of the wine we drink is still sourced domestically, imported wine in Australia is on the up, with the research showing the proportion of imported wines in the overall Australian wine market steadily increasing each year.

Furthermore, it’s not just the traditional French Champagne or Italian prosecco that we are turning to, with other countries such as Argentina starting to make their mark in Australia. Data from the IWSR shows that Argentina is the 7th highest imported wine in Australia, with strong growth in the last five years.

Further evidence of this trend could be found in the recent ‘Cambalache – one day in Argentina’ trade event in Sydney, hosted by Wines of Argentina to showcase the best of Argentinean wines. While this event has been on the scene for a while in other overseas markets, this was the first time they’ve brought their event to Australia, highlighting the opportunities Argentinean wineries see for potential growth in the Australian market.

Hosted at Pier One in Sydney, the event hosted 26 wineries from Argentina boasting opportunities for revellers to learn how to Tango dance and gorge on Argentinean BBQ and churros.  The event was infused with optimism, with Andrew Maidment from Wines of Argentina quoting figures suggesting spectacular growth in Malbec (+ 50% in the past 12 months, up four-fold in the past four years). We were able to sample wines from both well-established Argentinean wineries, as well as new and upcoming brands who were wanting to expand to Australia for the first time.

Surprisingly, if I had to pick an absolute favourite of the day, it’s the Rosé from New Age (by Bodega Valentin Bianchi).  50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon that was perfectly refreshing and apparently delicious served over ice. Turns out I don’t need a South American holiday after all- Argentina is coming to me this summer!

Some background data: Amongst the 11.2 million Australian regular wine drinkers. . . .

  • 3% drink Argentina
  • 8% drink Malbec
  • 3% drink Torrontes
  • 33% drink rosé

Source: Australia Vinitrac® Oct 2015, n=1000

Author: Natasha Rastegar