16 December 2015

Left to right UniSA Prof in Wine Marketing Larry Lockshin, Wolf Blass Foundation svholaship winner Ann-Marie Manno; and internationally renowned winemaker Wolf Blass. The first recipient of the Wolf Blass Foundation Scholarship, Ann-Marie Manno wants to do all she can to support the success of the local wine industry by uncovering more about the relative importance of a wine region or brand in building a resilient and sustainable wine industry. 

It is a complex question but one she hopes to work closely with industry to unpack. 

“What we have seen is that the innovation and excellence of a few wines from a particular region or a certain style of wine can quickly build fame,” Manno says. 

“But when everyone hops on the bandwagon - sometimes overplanting a particular variety or producing lesser quality wines and profiling that region or variety in their marketing - there can be an opposite effect, driving down prices and undermining the reputation of the whole region or variety.

“I want to look at a range of issues and try to assess if it is better to focus on building and marketing a strong individual brand above the variety and region of the wine. I hope my research will support the development of a more sustainable industry that is more resilient. 

“Ideally I would also like to look at which of these factors most influence retailers in what they choose to stock and promote as well, but there is a lot of scope in this research and a lot of it is new ground, so it may lead me into a PhD once I finish the Masters.” 

Manno is from a winemaking family and understands from personal experience the huge business challenges for both grape growers and emerging winemakers. 

She finished high school determined to learn more about wine marketing and graduated from the University of South Australia with a double degree in Human Resources and Marketing before applying for her Masters in wine marketing. 

Manno says the Wolf Blass Foundation Scholarship, worth $70,000 over two years, provides an exceptional opportunity to undertake research that is really grounded and connected to industry. 

“This allows me to look at some of the big industry concerns that have not really been addressed by research before and to set about discovering what we can do differently to improve the way we market Australian wines,” Manno says. 

“On the ground that translates to helping the Australian wine industry and all the very dedicated people who work in it, to develop a more astute approach based on sound research.” 

Professor of Wine Marketing and Head of UniSA’s School of Marketing, Larry Lockshin says the research targets one of the biggest strategy issues for the industry. 

“Brands like Wolf Blass and Penfolds are able to make sustainable profits and at the same time help to promote a region and varieties such as Shiraz,” Prof Lockshin says. 

“This suggests that a marketing emphasis on brand building first, ahead of promoting the region or variety second, may be the most sustainable model. 

“It also suggests that truly strong wine regions can only be built on the back of clear and distinctive brands. 

“The research Ann-Marie undertakes will help to test these theories and start to clarify the marketing issues around brand, region and variety and uncover the best strategies to improve business.” 

Announced late last year, this is the first scholarship to be awarded in a 10-year, $350,000 program of research scholarships at the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science, thanks to the generous support of the Wolf Blass Foundation and internationally renowned winemaker, Wolf Blass. 

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office +61 883020966 mob 0418823673 email michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au








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