Patritti Leading the Charge in Exporting Premium Wines to Poland

Photo: Ben Heide,
Pictured: Dr Monika Konczyk, Consul General of Poland, Ms Gosia Hill Hon Consul for Poland in Adelaide, Dr Ania Puzio, Justine Tiller Patritti General Manager

Despite the looming uncertainties of trade with China and the COVID-19 pandemic, South Australian winery Patritti is focusing on trading through these multiple challenges by smart wine diplomacy with emerging wine importing countries such as Vietnam and Poland.

The Global Compass ranks Poland as the fifth most attractive wine market in the world, up from 14th place in 2019.  It also places Poland as one of seven growth markets in the world, along with South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Romania, Brazil and Mexico.

According to Wine Intelligence (www.wineintelligence.com), Poland shows potential for sustained, strong growth of imported wine and mid to high overall market retail value as the volumes rise.  Wine consumption in Poland is lower than in most established and mature markets, but is steadily increasing.  Wine is establishing itself in Poland as a mainstream product and developing its niche within the alcoholic beverage category.  Australian wines are understood and considered to be of high quality by the wine trade but the market is not saturated, indicating the potential for growth for Australian producers. https://www.wineaustralia.com/news/market-bulletin/issue-222

South Australian premium wine producer Patritti, established by Italian immigrant Giovanni Patritti in 1926, started exporting wine in the early 1980s.  Their European Agent based in England, identified opportunities and contacts for Patritti in Poland in 2017.

Last week, Patritti’ s General Manager Justin Tiller and their Sales Manager and Winemaker, Ben Heide, hosted the Sydney-based Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Dr Monika Konczyk and the Honorary Consul for Poland in Adelaide, Ms. Gosia Hill to a private tour of their family owned winemaking facility located in Dover Gardens. The tasting was accompanied by the favourite Polish drinking accompaniments: pickles, herrings, European cheeses, Polish sausage and kabanosy, supplied by Grazy Little Things, a small local business with Polish heritage.  With consummate cultural awareness, Ben also procured for the occasion the finest, locally made cheesecakes, chocolate torte and vanilla slice to go with desert wines so popular in Poland on cold winter’s nights.

This was the Consul’s very first wine tasting in Australia, as she took up her diplomatic post in Sydney shortly before the pandemic.  Dr Konczyk was most impressed by the exceptional wines from the Patritti range.  “I loved the fruity Pino Grigio and the oaky Chardonnay”.

The Consul’s reaction to only a small sip of 2017 Barossa Saperavi was simply, “Wow!”

Next came the JPB Single Vineyard Shiraz (rated an impressive 97 points by the international wine icon James Halliday) and not surprisingly the Consul described it as, “the best wine I’ve ever tasted!”

Dr Konczyk was so taken by Patritti’s Sparkling Shiraz that she purchased a bottle to send to her family.  “It will brighten their Christmas and New Year’s celebrations during this difficult pandemic and cold winter days in Poland”, said the Consul.

Ben admits that “the distance, cost and the time taken for shipping is a big challenge for exporting from Australia to Europe”.  He says that “orders are not as large as the ones we are used to in our trading with China, so it is important to establish close relationships with many distributors of premium wines in the EU, who will place small but regular orders”.

“This has been made possible by Patritti setting up warehousing in a European distribution hub based in Antwerp”.  Ben said that it took Patritti about two years to fine-tune their European operations to bear fruit.  “We have put a lot of effort in developing logistics networks that would suit the size and business model of the importers that we are working with in Poland.   “It is paramount to be able and agile to quickly and efficiently respond to orders placed by our buyers in several EU locations, including Poland”.

Ben told the Consul General that Patritti’s wine range and product mix for the Polish market has evolved over time.  “After initially tasting the full range of wines that Patritti produces, our importer was able to select a list of products based on their vast experience with wines popular in Poland”.  “We considered the points of difference; we looked at what we can offer that closer European wine- producing countries can’t.  After fine tuning our offering we are now having success in Poland with wines that are quite unique to Australia and even to Patritti as a producer.”

Ben was very up-beat and positive about Patritti’s newly forged relationships with Poland.  “We have developed a close and trusting relationship with our importers who appreciate Patritti’s on-going in-market support, such as wine tastings.”

To strengthen their brand recognition by the Poles, Patritti has also supported the Hon Consul Gosia Hill (former Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Poland) with wine sponsorships at Polish national celebrations and at concerts, especially by highly ranked world class jazz and classical performers from Poland, whose endorsment and influence counts in the market.  Pre-COVID-19, these Patritti sponsored concerts by Polish musicians, were regularly held at the Brighton Secondary School, a neighbour of Patritti Winery.

Consul Konczyk stressed that “Poland and Australia a very like-minded countries with lots of historical, community connections and other strategic alliances.  South Australian wine consumed in Poland can be a lovely way of bridging the 15,000 km distance between our countries.”

“Patritti’ s Polish link story is an excellent example of new trade possibilities for Australia” said the Consul.  “I will make sure that Patritti wines are included in our next order and served at consular events, which are now restarting as COVID-19 with restrictions lifted”, she added.

Patritti is looking forward to consolidating and growing its presence in Poland and Ben said that “they would be happy to collaborate with other South Australian wine producers”. 

“As an industry, we need to be open to innovative and creative business models to maximise our different assets and advantages and to minimise waste and the costs of trading in new markets”.

More information:

Honorary Consul for Poland in SA, former Australian Minister Counsellor, Sr. Trade Commissioner in Poland

Gosia Hill, Mob 0412 061 720, E-mail gosia.hill@network64.com.au , www.gosiahill.com

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