Jun 13, 2012
ROSS BROWN, the former boss of the 120-year-old winery Brown
Brothers, has attacked the nation's leading retailers for flooding their
stores with private-label wines, that he said were hollow, copycats and
masquerading as real brands.
Speaking as the chairman of
Australia's First Families of Wine, a grouping of 12 eminent
family-owned wineries, Mr Brown said liquor outlets were crowding out
quality Australian wines with private-label offerings.
At a First
Families function this week, Mr Brown was reported to have said the
retailers - he is understood not to have named Woolworth's and Coles
directly - were buying up surplus wine and then placing a label on it to
suggest to shoppers a wine of higher value. He told BusinessDay
yesterday that some people thought wine labels invented overnight were
''I call them hollow logs, because they masquerade as
brands but in fact they are just a label which has none of these values
that traditional family wine companies bring to the market,'' Mr Brown
He said there was a threat of crowding out wine companies
that had made wines interesting and of value. If private labels were
allowed to dominate, traditional wine companies would be
disenfranchised, threatening the industry's future.
nothing new or different coming out of that [private label] wine space,
it's all wines that have been developed by the serious wine producers
and then copied,'' Mr Brown said.
Both supermarket giants have
developed a portfolio of popular and cheap private-label wines, with the
category one of the fastest growing alcohol segments for the nation's
biggest retailer, Woolworth's. Many of these wines have also won awards
Woolworth's has said the group, which owns Dan
Murphy's, carried 6130 domestic wines, of which only 225 were
private-label wines - less than 4 per cent. A Woolworth's spokeswoman
said Dan Murphy's was the biggest buyer of Australian wine in the world
and had the largest range of Australian wine in the world.
work hard to champion quality local producers, both large and small.
Exclusive brands make up a small proportion of our offer and exist to
provide a point of difference versus competitors and additional value
for consumers. They are produced by winemakers in exactly the same way
as any other brand,'' she said.
A spokesman for Coles said the
number of private-label wines in their stores had remained ''broadly
stable'' over the past two years.
''As with our supermarket
private-label offer, our customers will decide what products they want
to see on our shelves. Most private-label wine is sold in the
entry-level category, where customers are less concerned about brand
names and more focused on value.''
He said Coles was committed to
ensuring customers could buy recognised wine brands as well as choose
from a range of value-driven private-label wines.
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complies with New Zealand’s Code of ‘Winery Record Keeping Practices’ as guide lined by New
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