Doug Due, our Director of Wine and Beer, recently traveled to Australia for a big wine buying trip. Grocery Outlet's purpose is to provide quality products at extreme bargains, and sometimes we have to travel around the world to do that!
Vineyard in Australia's Barossa Valley
Here's my interview with Doug about his trip:
What locations did you visit?
Sydney, Hunter Valley, Gold Coast, Griffiths/Riverina, Melbourne, Adelaide, Barossa and McLaren Vale Valleys.
What's the best growing season in Australia?
Australia is on the Southern side of the world so they are just the opposite of our growing seasons. They harvest in February and March, we harvest in September and October.
What's unusual or specific about Australian wines?
Australia wines are very similar to California in style—Australians are the best producers of Shiraz in the world and they also do well with Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Are there any wines coming down the chain from Australia that you're excited about?
We're bringing in Barossa and McLaren Vale Shiraz that we can sell at $5-6 a bottle. Other retailers are selling the same wine for $18-30 a bottle. I'm excited to provide that value to our customers!
Do other countries provide better bargains than the U.S.?
The simple answer is yes. Producing wines in California can be more expensive than Australia or South America—the cost of land, building a winery, and hiring employees can all be more expensive. That's a very general statement and there are always going to be exceptions, but overall, Australia and South America can offer better bargains because their cost structure is less.
The extension of that question is how does that benefit our customers? The more competition we have for our shelf space the better. By working with other countries, our California partners have to provide as good if not a better value to earn shelf space. Some countries do a better job with a specific varietal, for example Argentinian Malbec, Chile Carmenere, Australian Shiraz, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are all top varietals, and that's reflected in their value.
What's your strategy in regards to traveling to different countries to buy?
We want to buy the best wines from the best regions in the world. With our buying power and efficiency of supply chain, we can offer varietal and regionally correct wines beating our competition on quality at the same price point or beating them on price while matching their quality. We're very proud of that.
Thanks Doug! And welcome home.