Andy and Misha Wilkinson have been successful in the wine industry by doing things a little bit differently.
While many wineries concentrate on exports to traditional markets like the UK and the US, the Misha's Vineyard brand is focused almost entirely on Asia.
And while many wine producers build up relationships at cellar door, the couple behind Misha's prefers to get on the road and meet their customers on their home turf, as well as being very active on social media.
It has worked. The Central Otago vineyard celebrates its 10th vintage this month and has announced further expansion of its distribution with the addition of Myanmar and Indonesia.
From the outset, the strategy for the spectacularly-located Misha’s Vineyard has been to build a premium brand working primarily with top restaurants and five-star hotels around the world with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific region.
“When we launched our wines into the market in early 2010, we announced three distributors in Asia – Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong – as well as Negociants New Zealand as our domestic distribution partner,” said Misha Wilkinson.
“Since then we’ve steadily increased our coverage across the Asia Pacific region and delighted to now be adding Myanmar and Indonesia, bringing the total number of markets in the region to 14.”
In New Zealand, celebrations for the 10th vintage were kicked off in style at The Rees Hotel in Queenstown.
Andy and Misha Wilkinson recently returned from a trip that included hosting a wine dinner in Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak on Borneo, and a wine tasting event in George Town, the Penang capital, as well as tastings in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and Singapore.
There are many elements about Misha’s Vineyard that appeal to the Asian market including being located on an old Chinese gold-mining site, and having links with the number 8 - a lucky number in Chinese culture.
Andy and Misha lived in Singapore for 17 years and worked extensively around the Asia Pacific region. They knew that cool-climate aromatic white varieties and pinot noir were suited to the exotic flavours of Asia.
“Our strict marketing philosophy and approach has held us in good stead over six years since our wines were launched into the market," says Andy Wilkinson, "We have managed to build a premium brand in more than 20 export markets."
# Misha’s Vineyard is located above Lake Dunstan in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. The 57-hectare estate produces pinot noir and aromatic white varieties vinified by winemaker Olly Masters.