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Generically modified

Published:  18 January, 2007

The welcome appointment of Warren Adamson as head of New Zealand's generic body neatly spotlights the importance of generic representation in the wine trade sector.

We all look in awe at the success of Australia over the past 20 years or so, but it all started with Hazel Murphy and a few notables who agreed to sing from the same songsheet. The strategic plan for Australia (see last week's issue) has become a template for other countries.

You can't help but notice that the countries that are doing well - Australia, California, South Africa and Chile - have strong generic offices in the UK and a vision. Experienced people backed by importer committees who, in the main, comprise people who know the UK market and are dealing with the multiple retailers on a daily basis.

It takes more than just a generic body with a bit of money. Its work has to be supported by the country's major players and, where applicable, its brands. Argentina tried a couple of years ago but its initial excellent groundwork was lost by the lack of follow-through. To be fair it also coincided with major activity from Chile and South Africa.

The Kiwis have realised that now is the time to secure their most important market. Their wines are in demand in the US and Australia, and Asia is on their doorstep, but Adamson represents an important change and a signal that NZ really means business.

Christian Davis