For the past two weeks, Australia’s First Families of Wine have been touring through the US and Canada on the AFFW UNLOCKED Tour de Force, spreading the word about quality Australian wine throughout North America.
Led by AFFW’s fourth chairman, Robert Hill-Smith (Yalumba) and organized to coincide with Aussie Wine Month, the twelve representatives made their way through San Francisco, New York, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, hosting 13 official AFFW events and working the markets in each city.
Starting in San Francisco on May 18, Chairman Robert Hill-Smith defined the purpose of the tour as “lifting the bar and perceptions about what Australian wine is all about.” The AFFW UNLOCKED Tour de Force journey Hill-Smith described as “a charm offensive . . . we’re here to seduce, have fun and have media, trade and consumers believing in the subtle quality of premium Australian wine.”
The tour has created buzz on social media. AFFW hashtags on Twitter alone created over 6.8 million impressions and reached 626,000 users.
Founded in 2009, the AFFW group came together to raise the profile and provenance of quality Australian wine, at home and around the world. After launching in the UK in 2010, Canada in 2011 and China in 2013, North America was the obvious focus for 2015.
This international activity has been coupled with a domestic tasting program – UNLOCKED – pitched at both trade and consumers. Successfully held throughout Australia, the UNLOCKED initiative has established AFFW as a voice for Australian wine, committed to driving the message about the quality, history, provenance and stories behind their leading brands, many of them household names, according to a press release.
On the North American tour were: Ross Brown, (Brown Brothers); Colin Campbell (Campbells, US only); Chester Osborn (d’Arenberg); Darren De Bortoli (De Bortoli Wines); Stephen Henschke (Henschke); Jeff Burch (Howard Park, Canada only); Peter Barry (Jim Barry Wines); Scott McWilliam (McWilliam’s); Alister Purbrick (Tahbilk); Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell’s); Justin Taylor (Taylors) and Chairman Robert Hill-Smith (Yalumba).