While many areas of Australia’s economy are struggling under the weight of COVID, one Aussie business is pushing forward with export growth across Europe and Canada.
Headquartered in McLaren Vale, Leconfield Wines is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaking business. Owned by Dr. Richard Hamilton and his wife, Jette, Dr. Hamilton is a fifth-generation descendant of Richard Hamilton 1st, who planted South Australia’s first wine-producing vineyards in 1837. Leconfield Wines takes in Leconfield Wines in Coonawarra and Richard Hamilton Wines in McLaren Vale. Their brands include Leconfield, Richard Hamilton Wines, and Syn Sparkling Wines.
Leconfield has a history of producing top-quality, award-winning wines. Their wines are sold across Australia, overseas, and also served aboard Jetstar business class and on Great Southern Rail trains, including The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern, and The Overland.
“COVID has been challenging for us. As winemakers who sell our products directly to consumers through our membership and into restaurants and other hospitality outlets across the country, sales have been hit through venues’ closure.
The latest lockdown in Victoria is particularly challenging,” Dr. Hamilton said.
“We have also experienced mixed results overseas with some markets, including China reducing spend.
“However, in the face of this, we have also risen to the challenge. We have restructured to focus on building collaborative partnerships and foster growth in other overseas markets, and these strategies are already starting to yield great results.
“Damian White has been appointed to the newly created role of Sales and Marketing Director. He is firmly focused on the expansion of our international market, alongside our valued domestic and online platform partners. Christine Says has been appointed to the CFO’s role to help manage the complexities of our burgeoning overseas markets to ensure strong growth and firm cost control.
“The recent decision by Canada to remove tariffs on the import of Australian wines has also opened up new opportunities for us too.”
Leconfield has been approved for distribution and sale in three Canadian provinces: Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec.
“We are extremely excited about this and are looking to augment our presence to other provinces as well,” Dr. Hamilton added.
“In addition to Canada, we have secured new opportunities in Finland and Belgium. In Belgium, we have partnered with Belgian food retailer, Delhaize, to supply a private label Coonawarra Shiraz under the name of Dalebrook Farm. We are already in talks regarding line extensions.
“This opportunity and various other emerging ones are really proving very positive for us moving forward.
“Our senior winemaker, Paul Gordon, is doing an excellent job of creating new and exciting wines from our vineyards. His ability to craft, blend, and perfect is delivering superb results for us and really bolstering our ability to continually impress the market with wonderful wines.
“Kate Mooney, our marketing and events manager, who has been with us for nearly seven years, is hard at work refreshing and developing our labels and packaging to ensure we stand out on shelves, catalogues and online sites.
“Despite the challenges we are facing here at home, we are determined to achieve growth. We’ve been through droughts, the Spanish Flu, world wars, the great depression, recessions, the GFC, and now COVID.
You could say ‘we are battle-hardened,’ and we are not about to let a virus dampen our prospects. We are all in this together, and indeed, at Leconfield Wines, we are determined to get through to the other side.
“We are very lucky. At the end of the day, we can sit back and relax with a good drop.
One of the benefits of winemaking!”
Leconfield Wines is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaking business and home to Leconfield, Richard Hamilton Wines, and Syn. Internationally acclaimed for its wines, Leconfield’s brands regularly win national and international awards and are also served on premium Australian experiences including luxury trains and airlines. Paul Gordon is the head winemaker.