More Than Koalas & 'Those Big Red Wines'
with Martha Chapman

World traveller and Aussie booster Daryl Hudson

Narelle Ross of Tourism Australia’s Toronto office

Wine expert Marnie Williamson

It appears that Australia has more than fabulous beaches, wildlife and culture. In fact, we Canucks are streaming to the land down under in growing numbers at least partly because of… the food and wine.

“We’re welcoming 120,000 or more Canadians each year – and have a repeat factor of 40 to 45%,†Daryl Hudson of Tourism Australia told me over a deliciously Aussie-themed lunch at Quince Resto in mid-town Toronto. “We call our food and wine a ‘key motivator’ for travel – or as I like to say, a passion point.â€

Passion point indeed. Looks like our Aussie cousins have moved way, way beyond the shrimp-on-the-barbie days with edibles now ranging from artisanal cheeses infused with wasabi, to the freshest of seafood and – of course – wine galore. In fact, Australians have been in the wine business for over 150 years, and it’s much more than just chardonnay and shiraz, according to Marnie Williams, Eastern Canada marketing development officer for Wine Australia.

So how do Australians’ tastes in wine vary from Canadians? “They tend to be more adventurous – they drink bubbles all the time!†she said, sipping from a flute of Jacobs Creek sparkling wine.

One fellow who has every reason to raise a glass is Hudson, recently promoted to Vice President, The Americas (yes, North and South), and hence in the process of moving from Toronto, his home since 1994, to L.A. (“But I’m taking a snow shovel as a souvenir!â€) He’s looking forward to the new challenges and to a new campaign, themed Australia Now, which this fall will start tempting us to take advantage of a strong loonie and low fares to cross the big, big pond to the land down under…where it’s more than the tourist clichés Reef-Rock-Opera House and more like “Now those are bubbles I could come to adore!â€

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