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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Aust wine dealer toasts sweet success

Aust wine dealer toasts sweet success

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N February drinks specialist John Harper set up the first Australian wine

importing company in the country and according to Harper: "Business is booming."

He says: "Australian Valley Wine's system of direct distribution,

marketing and promotion has established our products in a Cambodian market

previously dominated by French wine.

"The wines we distribute include

Pheasant Gully table wine, Hanwood Cabernet Sauvignon and the Vintage Mount

Pleasant Elizabeth 1988 which last year won Australia's highest wine award.

Prices range from $5-10 wholesale."

Harper says: "Repeat sales are the

key to success and despite having only 20 percent of shelf space in some stores

we outsell everyone else.

"The company's style of dealing directly with

suppliers and retailers on a one-to-one basis and giving them advice on displays

and pricing is helping us achieve repeat sales.

He said holding wine

tasting promotions and remaining a strictly wholesale supplier is helping the

company to expand.

"Our products are represented in the newly established

supermarkets, most leading restaurants and hotels, and a select number of

additional stores."

The company is currently holding an Australian food

and wine festival at Cafe No Problem until July 5 where emu, kangaroo and

crocodile will supplement the wine.

He said the company's most popular

lines are champagnes and red wines which appeal to Khmers because they are

associated with strength.

Harper says while Australian wines do not

match the range of French wines they do travel well and are suitable for hotter

climates.

"Australian wines stand up to 12 months in these conditions so

a customer can buy with confidence."

Harper, who runs the company

together with fellow Australian Andrew Maxwell, says they plan to soon import

Berri fruit juices, flavored milk, Bundaberg Rum and Lionheart Cider from

Australia.

Before Harper began the company he helped renovate Angkor

Beer's brewery in Kompong Som.

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