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Warren Randall: “Here we go again”

By Tuesday 9 April 2024No Comments

Steven Trigg, ex-CEO of AFL clubs the Adelaide Crows and Carlton, joined the Randall Wine Group in 2018 when the wine industry was booming.

But then China shut the door on Australian winemakers and the business took a $40 million hit.

The Randall Wine Group then bought Penny’s Hill and Gemtree and more vineyards in McLaren Vale and changed the dialogue from China to organic wine.

Now Warren Randall is back in the saddle.

Last Saturday he flew to China – his 41st trip – with 90kg of wine samples in 330ml plastic bottles.

Randall said: “In the words of Jackie Gleason, here we go again.”

Trigg said, “You would have to say that it’s a relief that things are moving again.

“There’s a lot of activity.

“I do think there will be a level of caution because of where we’ve been, but at the same time a recognition of the opportunity that does lie ahead.

“You do so with your radar up.”

The Randall Wine Group already has an order from China for 156,000 bottles and buyers are wanting appointments at Seppeltsfield.

“The premium bulk wine interest has been reasonably significant,” says Trigg.

“Reactivation is the word. Because we’re contracted to a couple of the big players in China, we’re hopeful of reactivating pretty much where we left off with them.

And given our relationship with Treasury, their enthusiasm for what lies ahead gives us great cause for optimism.

“It will continue to be difficult at the lower end, it’s very price-competitive, but premium Australian wine is still premium Australian wine into that market – and at first blush those prices are holding.”

Trigg says there’s always something happening in Randall’s “manic” life.

He is a busy man forever rushing from one place to the next.

To celebrate the news on Thursday 27 March Trigg opened a Bollinger with some staff – but Warren couldn’t make it. He had more important things to do.

Trigg said, “I said to Warren at 5.45pm that day: ‘Right, Champagne.’ Warren agreed.

“He said ‘Yes 100 percent Champagne.’ Then he goes, ‘Oh shit, I’ve got to go and pick up the dog’.”

• Article first published in WBM’s weekly newsletter The Week That Was.

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