Twillingate wine headed East

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Chinese contract result of growing Asian interest in winery: GM

Auk Island Winery in Twillingate.

Auk Island's new Chinese contract is the culmination of growing interest from Asian companies, says the Twillingate winery's general manager.

Danny Bath told The Telegram the company will send three of its Iceberg wines to China starting this year.

"We've had, actually, six different companies that have approached us in the last 12 months, pertaining to possibly sending our products to China and Asia," he said. "It's one of those situations where we haven't really gone out looking for that market; that market has come to us."

Auk Island will be shipping between 4,000 and 6,000 cases of the wine to China this year, through a branch of local pharmaceutical company NewLab Life Sciences. That order will ramp up to between 10,000 to 14,000 cases in 2014.

It's a good toehold in the Asian market, but by next year the winery will be at full capacity, and that's after recently installing new equipment to boost production at the winery, which currently produces about 12,000 cases of wine a year.

"It's a wonderful thing in this day and age when a company has an opportunity to grow," he said. "With this current facility that we've got here, I'm thinking that's going to be pretty well our max. ... For us to go any bigger, then, we'd have to look at expansion opportunities."

If the interest, and market, is there, they'll expand, said Bath, who noted that the past few years have seen a jump in production.

"In 2010, we were sitting at 5,000 cases, and this year now we're at 12,000 cases. By 2014 we'll be at 25,000 to 30,000 cases. We're basically going to quadruple our numbers in a four-year period."

Bath said the contract is worth about $500,000 this year and about $1.2 million next year.

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: The Telegram, NewLab Life Sciences

Geographic location: China, Asia

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