News & Media

New flavour to wine marketing

Released on

Released on:
Friday, 26. June 2020 - 10:00

Australia’s international border closure has stimulated an innovative way of marketing Western Australian wine to key market customers.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has overcome international transit restrictions by hosting an online virtual wine master class with a group of 22 wine industry professionals from Tokyo recently.

The 90-minute video conferencing service tasting was a pilot initiative, supported by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, Austrade Tradestart advisers from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA and the South West Development Commission.

DPIRD primary industries trade manager, I-Lyn Loo, said it was the first time a virtual international marketing strategy of this type had been used by DPIRD to engage with export markets.

“The COVID-19 movement restrictions have created the opportunity to explore fresh approaches to capturing market attention,” Ms Loo said.

“The Japanese wine industry were intrigued by the concept of a virtual master class from the start and were more than happy to participate in the online gathering.

“They provided great feedback on the concept, which we will use to refine the process so it can be extended to other markets and products.”

Two Margaret River chardonnays, Woodlands and McHenry Hohnen, were featured in the master class for participants to sample and discuss.

McHenry Hohnen winemaker, Japo Dalli Cani, participated in the event, which he said provided an insight into possible new business models to market WA produce.

“Necessity is the mother of invention and the current state of international movement restrictions has provided an opportunity to think more creatively about how to do business in this dynamic global marketplace,” Mr Dalli Cani said.

“The use of online tools and channels has opened up a whole new way of doing business that we can build on and develop to directly engage with potential and emerging customers that we may not have otherwise.

“Even when the borders open up, this is one marketing channel that we would expect to continue in some form or another.”

Ms Loo said good cultural appreciation was key to the success of the wine master class.

“We worked closely with the WA Government’s in-market representatives to ensure the gathering was hosted according to Japanese cultural expectations, with great respect and sensitivity,” she said.

“While cultural appreciation is central to international marketing, more complexities are encountered when doing business online via a virtual format, where physical and communication nuances are curtailed.”

The department continues to collaborate with industry on new business models to market WA produce in the current and post COVID-19 operating environment.

It is also working with its partners to explore a new virtual approach to market WA produce to Dubai.

The virtual wine master class follows a successful virtual ‘boot camp’ for WA start-ups and early stage innovators, hosted by a world leading Israeli program.

For more information about how DPIRD can assist WA agrifood and beverage businesses visit

Woman sitting in front of a computer holding a bottle of wine.
DPIRD primary industries trade manager, I-Lyn Loo, has overcome border restrictions and organised a virtual wine master class with a group of 20 Japanese sommeliers to promote WA wine.

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison                            

+61 (0)8 9368 3937