The Australian Wine Bureau is to spend more in the UK, its biggest market. It is to create a number of a new position and invest in marketing to create a new brand image encompassing all Australian wines. Brand building has proven a very successful strategy for individual wine-makers, and should work at the regional level.

The Australian Wine Bureau has decided to boost its marketing spend in the UK - currently valued at £500,000 - in order to enhance the perception of Australian wines. It is also replacing the current position of chief executive with two new roles, one responsible for continental Europe and one specialising in the UK and Ireland alone.

Between them, the UK and Ireland currently account for just under half of the £77 billion Australian wine export market, while the continent represents a further 13%.

Branding has become an increasingly vital strategy for wine manufacturers in recent years as they seek to simplify the consumer's decision, distinguish themselves from their competition and create a market for their full range based on one or two memorable purchases. Now, the Australian Wine Bureau feels that the time has come to take the trend one step further by increase the presence of a distinctly Australian brand.

The move will almost certainly imply a change in strategy for the bureau. Currently, its approach is low-key: the only consumer-facing marketing spend is on wine-tasting events. The time has come for the bureau to step out of the shadows and adopt a more aggressive stance, using above-the-line marketing to build brand consciousness.

In creating an umbrella brand for its wines, the bureau is in competition not only with other wine producing regions, but also with drinks manufacturers such as Diageo. It is not the first to have adopted a branding strategy based on region. Meanwhile, manufacturers often take the opposite approach, create recognisable brands and that are distinct from country of origin because this may vary throughout the brand.

The bureau's aggressive new strategy should raise consumer awareness of Australian wine. It signals the growing confidence of Australia's wine industry, as well as the importance it places on markets in the UK and Ireland.

Related Research: Datamonitor, "Prestige Consumers" (DMCM0101)