LSA WA launches virtual wine tastings

20 July, 2020 by Andy Young

The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSAWA) has revealed details of a new plan designed to support local wineries and small businesses through a series of virtual ‘Zoom’ wine tastings.

Six WA wineries will join an online tasting panel, where they will showcase their wines to a range of banner groups, representing many established independent liquor retailers. Each wine producer will have an allotted time to promote their wine to an audience including Liquor Barons, which has more than 75 stores in WA, Thirsty Camel, Bottlemart and Cellarbrations.

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“All that we are simply doing is putting wine on the lips of the influential buyers and decision makers of these stores with produce from small and boutique WA wineries who may otherwise not have had an opportunity or ability to expand their market,” explained LSA WA CEO Peter Peck.

“We’re like the middle-man bringing businesses together to ensure the industry stays alive and livelihoods aren’t lost in these strange times. Hopefully, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Peck said the initiative means more liquor stores can act as an extension to the cellar door of each participating winery.

“First and fore most this is an opportunity to galvanise the industry and bring some unity across all sectors of the packaged liquor business.

“During the height of the COVID-19 restrictions, we clearly saw that pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes were closed and unable to sell other than bits of take-away food here and there. WA’s Liquor stores were the only part of the industry which never had their doors shut, and that says something.

“We quickly noticed during ‘lock-down’ that it was our members, our actual brick and mortar stores had turned into the heartbeat of the industry and that’s when we realised there was more scope for our stores to play a greater and more significant role for the market and the industry overall.”

Woody Nook Wines will be one of the six wineries taking part in the first ‘tasting’ which takes place this Wednesday, 22 July.

Craig Dunkerton, Assistant Winemaker at Woody Nook, said: “[This is] a fantastic initiative supporting small wineries, we hope that it will give us greater exposure among the key buying groups.”

Julie Hutton, Managing Partner at Windfall Wine Estates, just what the opportunity means to the local wineries involved.

“To be able to reach out to independent liquor traders on this scale would not normally be possible to a small producer such as Windfall Estate, and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity,” Hutton said.

To mark the launch of the series, WA’s Small Business and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia will be attending the online tastings at LSA’s headquarters in West Perth.

Peck welcomed the Minister’s attendance, saying: “Minister Papalia has never turned his back on our industry. He’s passionate about his portfolio and we are extremely delighted that he’s coming into our offices to sit in on the tastings and has an opportunity to converse with our members and the industry.”

The Liquor Stores Association will also be hosting a virtual tasting for WA distilleries.