Sun, 06 Dec 2020

SYDNEY, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The year 2020 has provided plenty of reason to drink, from natural disasters to COVID-19, for many people, a glass of wine has never been more sought after or well-deserved.

But it is a long way from the grape to the glass, and all those working to make it happen have had to contend with a multitude of challenges wrought by the global pandemic.

In the heart of one of Australia's most famous wine producing regions, the Hunter Valley, First Creek winery plays an integral role in seeing producer's grapes processed, bottled, and shipped to tables around the world.

This year, First Creek will join the China International Import Expo (CIIE) for the first time to help ensure that even in this difficult period, top quality Australian wines continue to reach Chinese consumers.

In the lead up to the CIIE, First Creek welcomed Xinhua reporters to the Hunter Valley to witness the winery in action and explain why they have decided to join China's premier trade expo.

First Creek Commercial Manager Justin McCarthy explained that the winery's operations cater not just for its own label, but also process grapes from vineyards across 35 percent of the Hunter Valley and bottle 85 percent of the wine from the region.

"Not only are we the largest wine company in the Hunter Valley, we're also the largest employer in the region," McCarthy said.

Having travelled to China for the past 15 years through his work, McCarthy said he has learned the value and importance of face-to-face relationships in conducting business with China, and hopes to get back there as soon as the situation allows.

"I think the Chinese public has shown they have a real love for our wines and our products, you can see that across dairy, meat and everything essentially so it would be good to maintain that strong market," McCarthy said.

McCarthy hopes CIIE will help in re-establishing confidence among distributors by showing that in 2020 the desire to trade with China is stronger than ever, as is the tradition of producing the highest quality wines.

"One of the wines that will be at the fair will be our First Creek Regions Shiraz 2017, which will be there at the stand. That was awarded top Shiraz in Australia under 35 Australian dollars (25 U.S. dollars) and sold out very quickly once those reviews hit," McCarthy said.

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