By Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)
Much decorated Australian international Wolf Blass has joined English football giant Manchester City.
Wolf Blass, one of Treasury Wine Estate’s 15 global priority brands, has become City’s official wine partner for Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Mexico.
Wolf Blass wines will be promoted to 240 million City fans through in-store promotions, co-branded merchandising, giveaways, digital platforms and social media.
TWE’s president of operations in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America says Wolf Blass has a long association with sport sponsorships, including baseball in Japan and Korea, basketball in China, rugby union in the UK and southern hemisphere, and Australian Rules Football.
“We looked at what sport was the broadest in terms of likeability and relevancy to consumers across all of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Mexico, and English football was one of the most popular sports,” Robert Foye told AAP.
TWE looked at various soccer leagues and soccer clubs and settled upon Manchester City because City was not only striving for more on-field success but also had a great digital marketing base.
City – which was English Premier League champion in 2012 and 2014 – has about 3.4 million followers on Twitter and about 9.6 million followers on Chinese social media.
Mr Foye said the Wolf Blass label was growing strongly in China, where awareness of the label among wine consumers had climbed from 19 per cent to 27 per cent in the last 12 months.
Mr Foye said Wolf Blass was one of TWE’s top five brands in China and had great potential because it was a quality wine with different tiers of affordability across the yellow, black and platinum labels.
“Long term, we believe Wolf Blass, in most of the Asian markets, including China, should be the number one imported wine brand by value – that’s the goal that we have,” Mr Foye said.
The Wolf Blass label was established in the Barossa Valley in 1966 and has won more than 8,000 medals and trophies at wine shows around the world.
Treasury Wine, whose labels also include Penfold’s, Rawson’s Retreat, Beringer and Lindeman’s, has been pushing hard in the growing Asian wine market.
Treasury Wine’s operations in Asia reported what the company described as an outstanding result in the first half of the financial year, lifting earnings by $26 million to $46.5 million on the back of increasing demand for imported wine and a significant lift in marketing.
Earnings from Asia almost matched those from Australia and New Zealand.