TKR has recently been impressed with a couple of reds from the Victoria-based McPherson Wine Co. One the company sent was MWC Victoria Cabernet Sauvignon. No price or information, just the wine. It has a bold, simple, yet hipster label, fronting very sound wine. It rated 92 points but we couldn’t say if it was value for money. What we did think was that it would make a good US brand.
Yellow Tail may be good for Casella but it’s not so good for the perception of Australian wine in America. Australia needs more brands in the US selling 100,000 cases plus, and retailing between US$12 and US$20 ($16-$27). In our opinion the MWC could be a contender.
We asked the people at McPherson for more detail and were delighted to learn the wine is a brand destined for the US market, with a retail price of US$15. The importers are Henry Hudson and Tom Donegan of Hudson Wine Brokers. Both are Australians and doing great work on behalf of Australian wines. They are launching the MWC Cabernet in several states, along with MWC Shiraz Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Hudson said:
“We are pretty excited about the MWC range – the juice is great and the packaging works well.
“We only received the cabernet into the warehouse today [May 23], however have launched with the pinot noir, pinot gris and shiraz mourvedre.
“The shiraz was given 92 points and Best Buy in the May issue of Wine and Spirits.
“We only launched the brand in April and we are selling/commitments to sell in about 12 states with good distributors.
“Whether it can become a 100,000-case brand – too early to call, however we have had a great response from the distributors’ sales force as a good way to get the Australian category moving again – great packaging, excellent wine and sweet spot in terms of pricing.”
TKR has been studying the USA market in greater depth for a year or two and we believe that though it’s difficult it holds great promise. We think the MWC/Hudson approach is the right one and wish them well.
If you’re interested in the US market, an article I wrote for Wine & Viticulture Magazine’s April-May 2016 edition is worth a read: