WHEN people think of alcohol and Russians, cool climate wines is not what springs to mind.
But the Russians go crazy for Highland Heritage Estate wines according to D’Aquino Group international operations director Robbie Robinson.
It’s a market that brings in millions of dollars for the group and it’s growing.
Mr Robinson said the market in China and Russia was highly competitive and it was a relationship worth cultivating.
That is exactly what they did on Thursday as a group of Russian representatives from Luding, one of the largest alcohol distributors in Russia, came to Orange and enjoyed a day of wine tasting around the region.
Mr Robinson said Russia was a market winemakers would dream for.
“It’s a fairly serious business,” he said.
“Most players in Orange are far too small, it wouldn’t be economically viable to even think about it on a drunken night.”
He said the money the group had to invest in the market initially was huge and winemakers would not be able to come up with the capital.
Traditionally people think of France and Italy when it comes to fine wine but Mr Robinson said due to the unstable nature of larger economies in Europe, Asia was the place to be.
“Russia and Chine just continue to grow and it’s an important market but you have to invest a lot of time and energy,” he said.
“The future is in the next decade.”
The group exports about 500,000 bottles of wine per year.