Accolade Wines’ Managing Director, Andrew Clarke – one year into the role

Accolade Wines’ Managing Director, Andrew Clarke – one year into the role

Accolade Wines’ Managing Director, Andrew Clarke – one year into the role

April 26, 2021
Managing Director, Andrew Clarke has just celebrated his first year in the role. Reflecting upon his first 12 months, Clarke believes there is plenty to celebrate for the industry as a whole and for Accolade Wines in particular in a year during which the business has expanded geographically and consolidated its leadership and operations.

Speaking with Drinks Trade, Clarke said, “Our global leadership team is in place with a range of first-class leaders across the world. With our CEO, Robert Foye, at the helm, we have some of the strongest alcohol and FMCG leadership experience in the industry. The last member to join – and complete - our Leadership Team was Derek Nicol, who relocated from the UK to Australia in December as Global Chief Supply Chain Officer, bringing with him over 20 years of experience across all aspects of the Supply Chain.”

Nicol’s remit includes delivering high-quality wine to customer partners consistently, communicating proactively, and since his commencement, he has already identified additional opportunities for ongoing growth in the business. 

Several new members have been brought into the ANZ team and Clarke believes that their cross-category experience will help drive performance, category insights, and customer engagement at every level.

E-commerce remains a top priority for everyone’s business. Accolade has bolstered the digital and IT teams to support growth and ensure the business is properly resourced for opportunities to proactively partner on new digital opportunities.

Clarke believes that whether working virtually or side by side, the Accolade team is united. He said, “The entire business is working amazingly together to ensure our consumer experiences are best-in-class and our customer engagement continues to grow and adapt.”

Last year the business acquired a number of wineries in South Australia including the much-loved Katnook Estate, in the Coonawarra brand - Australia’s No 3 region for bottled red wine. With a history stretching back to 1867, Katnook Estate crafts single varietal red and white wines with an uncompromising commitment to the finest quality produce and the regional integrity of the Coonawarra. Katnook has twice won Australia’s most prestigious trophy, the Jimmy Watson, and several international awards. 

Accolade retained the Katnook Estate team and appointed Natalie Cleghorn as the Senior Winemaker and Manager for Katnook Estate. 

Global Vintage Release Program
This year is the first of Accolade’s inaugural Global Vintage Release Program, showcasing the wine house’s premium global brands internationally, including luxury wines in the St Hallett, Grant Burge, House of Arras, Hardys and Petaluma ranges.
Each of the outstanding wines heralds from premier regions in Australia, including the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Tasmania, under the guardianship of some of Australia’s most decorated winemakers. 

But it was the House of Arras’s year with the release of its highly anticipated vintage collection of world-class sparkling wines. It unveiled the first new wine to the portfolio in six years – House of Arras Blanc de Blancs NV and the brand won Best in Category, several wines scored highly in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, and not only was the EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2004 awarded 99 points in the Halliday Wine Companion Awards, it also received the prestigious title of Decanter’s Sparkling Wine of the Year. 

The Global Vintage Release Program was hosted virtually, linking winemakers to key customers to launch the initiative, conducting remote tastings and education programs with the program leading to outstanding feedback from esteemed critics, including Jancis Robinson MW for our Grant Burge and Petaluma Vintage Releases, and excellent point scores awarded to St Hallett from James Halliday, Andrew Caillard MW and Nick Stock of 

Hardys Money Back Guarantee Campaign
Clarke says that The Hardys Money Back Guarantee campaign from last year was also a unique campaign, offering any consumer not satisfied with the wine the opportunity to claim their money back. The promotion was embraced by Accolade’s retail partners and resulted in a significant shift in brand equity ratings, reaching the highest ever levels for one of Australia’s oldest wine brands.

Banrock Station has been cemented as the go-to choice for the environmentally-conscious shopper. 
In January, the business commenced a new partnership with Landcare Australia, committing to planting 100,000 native trees and shrubs every year. 
Last month, Banrock Station Wine and Wetlands Centre in the Riverland were equipped with solar panels which it is estimated will lead to an estimated CO2 reduction of 575 tonnes over 20 years. 

Accolade’s sustainable and innovative approach to winemaking and supply chain continues to evolve. And this sustainable approach goes to the heart of the business. 

Clarke says, “To continue to do this, we make sure we are growing sustainably, looking after our people, helping the communities in which we work, and supporting both the industry and the environment. This approach is a sincere focus for us and, while it is important to celebrate the milestones achieved, we will also continue to strive for improvement and best-in-class across our entire business.

“Accolade Wines is serious about continually improving access to great quality wines for all wine lovers globally through our amazing brands and dedicated teams. We are constantly showing-up differently, partnering differently, and unlocking greater opportunities. And there’s much more to come!”
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