The Italian wine market in Australia. An interview to Daniel Marcella

Daniela Marcella is a sommelier and communicator of Italian wine richness in Australia


Communicating wine is an art, above all if you are keen on talking about the Italian wine richness in a large country like Australia. Fortunately, Daniel Marcella is a frontman, a person who likes to engage with people as an outgoing sommelier. His journey set off in the Buon Ricordo restaurant in Sidney, also thanks to his solid oenological background (as certifications, FISAR, WSET, ALMA, Corte dei Master Sommelier Oceania). Nowadays, his Italian Wine Society is a point of reference for all those wineries from Italy which would like to explore the potential of the Australian market. We have met him to discuss the wine market in Australia and how it has changed during the last 8-10 years.

Daniel Marcella sommelier expert in wine export

The Italian wine market has radically changed since my arrival in Australia. I can recall how different acquaintances when asked information about Italian wines, they showed both interest and scepticism. Potential purchase power is high in Australia, hence selling not too famous wines was not too difficult. By the time, I have seen more and more people interested in Italian wines, but a different sort of awareness. In fact, people have become more knowledgeable about vines, regions and certifications. Tourism has much contributed to this trend as more and more visitors from Australia have reached Italy. This has been a crucial moment as when people come back from Italy they are keen on sharing what they have lived by showing them what they are talking about. Today, Australia is a growing market, and it represents a great opportunity for Italian wine export. I do hope Italian producers stop to consider it as a second-level target”.

Is Italian wine in Australia more a matter of names or of vines?

Italian wine in Australia is connected to the concept of experience. In other words, it depends on what consumers have familiarised with first. Often, it is connected to the experience they have had with names and regions, in fact people who visit Chianti or Tuscany cannot recall this or that wine, like Colorino o Canaiolo, or they do not know how Amarone is made. Surely, vines like Sangiovese, Primitivo or Nebbiolo are widely perceived, and Apulia, Tuscany and Sicily are distinctive brands as they are places chosen by many tourists.

Anyway, wine consumption in Australia is very much connected to life styles, and we should not forget that Australian wine has its character, hence selling Primitivo is surely easier as it is closer to Barossa Valley Shiraz. Another factor to consider is the pronunciation – many customers who cannot just pronounce something at first place they will not order it not to be embarrassed – the linguistic barrier is still there, then.

Other factors which influence wine purchase are the restaurant sommeliers or workers as they should attract customers in new wine journeys, as well as the restaurant style. Briefly said, if you go to a Sicilian restaurant, you would probably buy a Sicilian wine rather than a Lazio wine. This is a shared problem for several businesses I follow – recognising one’s core business is key to success”.

In your work, also with your personal company, have you followed any specific method to encourage Italian wine discovery in Australia?

Our work is the result of a in-depth analysis of Italian wine market, that we simplify by highlighting the key factors of the Italian culture. At the basis of Italian experience are the images, sounds, the tasting, and good wine communication. Attracting different types of consumers is fundamental, and being too attentive to details is complicated, so it is rather important to invest in simple communicational things. When we communicate as businesses we do not teach, we are not academics. Instead, we should engage, let people in a cultural path toward wine experience because the economic value of Italian wine revolves around consumers”.

Daniel Marcell sommelier expert in Italian wine export in Australia

In this hard moment, are you happy to live in Australia? What do you miss the most in Italy?

“Italy! I miss the landscapes, the sounds, family and many other things. Nowadays, living abroad is hard, above all in a country that does not allow to travel or to come back by our free will. In other words, you can leave, but you do not know whether you will be able to come back. Though, I am very proud and happy to live in a country full of opportunities with people loving Italy. Without such a general feeling of openness, my work would not be possible. Obviously, there are obstacles, but the love for Italy and my desire to serve my country makes me face complex situations with joy and pleasure. I have decided to invest my entire professional life in making people discover Italy. I always bring with me the badge as a Vinitaly ambassador, but I think that we are always ambassadors of what we love the most”.

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