Jeff Howlett, General Manager Asia-Pacific at Australian Vintage, talks us through the company’s busy 2023.
“Our strategic plan is on track despite the tough trading conditions of 2023. The relentless pursuit to drive our pillar brands, innovate and expand geographically has shored up our platform for future growth. 2023 saw us absorb significant inflationary costs and as such we have worked hard to realign our business as a lower-cost producer. This sets us up well for 2024 and beyond, as we continue to invest in our brands and innovation. We have not compromised on our strategic plan despite short-term cost pressures. Our people remain our number one priority with engagement, safety, and diversity improvements versus the prior year.
Our strategic objective of putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do continues to delight and inspire wine drinkers the world over. Our diversity of regions, brands, production capabilities and established winemaking pedigree have resulted in our brands being recognised and available in 40+ countries.
Our focus is on bringing innovative products to market and being ahead of the curve on key consumer trends including emerging varietals, the burgeoning no/low-alcohol wine category and ready-to-drink products.
At Australian Vintage, we have a values-based culture that embraces innovation and continuous improvement. This drives a diverse and inclusive workplace where we are all focused on supporting each other around business outcomes.
Innovation continues to be fundamental to our strategic success. We remain global leaders in the no-and-low category launching our new Not Guilty brand and our McGuigan Mid-range globally. Whilst our focus is on our own brands, our collaborations have been well received including, Sevenly by Sarah Jessica Parker, The Butcher’s Cellar, and Johnny, Vince & Sam’s Vino by Sooshi Mango. Sooshi Mango was awarded the Best Brand Activation of the Year at the Endeavour Group Supplier of the Year Awards.
Our recently released Tempus Two Shiraz Gin is already recognised as one of the best gins on the world stage, winning double gold awards at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, New York World Wine & Spirits Competition and Singapore World Spirits Competition, as well as The Masters
Medal at the 2023 Gin Masters. Excitingly, we’ve also just launched Tempus One, a collection of Prosecco-based wine spritzers available in can format. At one standard drink, Tempus One is an approachable RTD with a sessionable ABV of four per cent targeting Gen Z and millennials.
2023 saw Australian Vintage make substantial progress in our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy across a range of initiatives undertaken during the year.
We submitted for B-Corp certification which ensures the highest standards of social and environmental performance globally and are awaiting audit. We continue to implement initiatives including reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, on a per unit basis, over the prior year, reducing plastic by removing plastic shrink wrap from our pallets and replacing it with recyclable cardboard, lightweighting our bottles and continuing to look at further light weighting and consolidation opportunities; and our wineries and vineyards achieved Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certification.
Our people are our most important asset and we have had a very strong focus on culture, wellbeing and safety over the last few years. Through this focus, we have seen our total recordable injuries frequency rate decrease by 40% over the prior year. We became an accredited Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace and launched market-leading employee benefits. We received the Most Improved Gender Equity Award from the Drinks Association, reinforced with us being named as an Inclusive Employer for 2023 and 2024 by Diversity Council Australia.”