Australia’s Oatley Wines launches in America

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th August 2008

Oatley Wines has marked their first international wine foray with the launch of Robert Oatley Vineyards in America this month and the shipment of 300,000 bottles to what the Oatley family feel is the strongest growth potential market for premium Australian table wine.

Based in California, Robert Oatley Vineyards will import the family’s new wines for the American market, labelled under the Robert Oatley brand. “The family are really pleased to be back in America,” said Deputy Executive Chairman Chris Hancock, on the road in California this week. “Our history of success in the states is well known and we’ve a lot of friends over here in the wine trade who’ve made us feel most welcome.”

Oatley Wines is Bob Oatley’s relatively new wine business, built around the family’s seven vineyards in the Mudgee region on the central tablelands of New South Wales. In 2006 they released six Wild Oats and two Robert Oatley wines, followed by their first vintages of the historic Montrose label in May this year. The family have invested heavily in the Mudgee region, including a $10 million development of a small batch winemaking facility at the 10,000 tonne Montrose Winery and a large bottling hall and packaged wine storage facility at the rear.

“Sales of our wines within Australia have more than met our expectations,” Hancock commented, “and now the next stage is to make our mark in the States.”

The company believe that the current economic climate in the US will actually present an opportunity rather than a concern. “Some people may question our timing, what with the value of the dollar and the slowdown of Australian wine exports to the US, however it’s precisely these distractions that can provide us with opportunities we seek,” Hancock suggested. “The first orders against our initial shipment of 300,000 bottles have been most heartening – and we’ve the support of an outstanding team of distributors.”

The Robert Oatley wines will be launched this month in 8 states (representing over 60% of the market) and retail for around US$20. The range comprises 5 distinctively different table wines from the family’s Mudgee vineyards and those of select growers in South and Western Australia.