How Wine Australia’s Digital Marketplace connects Australian Wine globally

Smartsheet helped Wine Australia create a dynamic online platform, ensuring closed borders were no barrier to successful international trade for Australia’s wine producers.


  • Government

Organization Size

  • Mid-market (200-1999)


  • Asia Pacific (APJ)

"Smartsheet is the engine which powers our marketplace. We now have a truly dynamic platform which brings the global wine community together."

Drea Hall

Global Marketing Manager - Brand

World-renowned for its picturesque vineyards and award-winning wines , Australia has long been a key destination for international wine buyers. As the COVID-19 pandemic closed international borders, Australia’s wine community  suddenly found themselves unable to attend trade shows overseas. With the China market also effectively shut down due to tariff increases, Wine Australia had to find a way for it’s producers to remain connected with the global wine scene. 

"With all of our events in 2021 set to cancel, we needed a solution to keep exporting wine businesses supported and engaged with global trade," says Brooke Beales, Global Marketing Operations Manager at Wine Australia. An accomplished senior leader with over twenty-five years' experience, Beales plays an essential part in supporting the Australian wine sector in a role that  aligns and optimises processes, systems and reporting to support the global teams deliver marketing campaigns which achieve strategic objectives. 

Beales works with Global Marketing Manager - Brand, Drea Hall. Together, they  work in a cross-functional team of twenty-three marketers based around the globe, supporting Australia’s sixty-five wine regions and managing the trade lifecycle. “Wine is so much about sight, smell, and taste. It’s about the stories of the grapegrowers  and the winemakers,” says Hall. With travel off the table, the team set about launching a marketplace platform to ensure Australia’s innovative producers could still network and do business internationally. 

A cost-effective solution fit for an evolving market

Seven years into her current role, Beales first discovered Smartsheet while standardising Wine Australia's event management processes. With multiple global servers, varying levels of expertise in-house, and an international calendar of over 150 events, Beales sought a cost-effective platform to improve collaboration and information sharing. Initially used as a project management tool, she is most pleased by Smartsheet's ease of use and how its capabilities have evolved with the team, “It’s grown with us as we’ve grown as an organisation.”

Wine Australia now has a system that supports the breadth of its international operational and marketing needs. From complex multi-million-dollar campaigns to resource allocation and budgeting, they can directly communicate objectives in a Smartsheet dashboard and provide a quick link to team members. "It's the brains of the operation. It keeps things simple and easy, resulting in better data capture," says Hall. 

A virtual platform allows connection with ease

To run events and create a search tool powerful enough to access Australian wine from anywhere in the world, where exhibitors could easily manage their profiles, it soon became apparent that there wasn’t one technical solution fit for the purpose. Following a global review of available solutions and significant stakeholder consultation, Wine Australia undertook a request for proposal outlining their vision.  They appointed an agency partner to develop a custom-built virtual platform, pairing with Smartsheet, and CONNECT was born. 

Australian Wine Connect is an always-on, 24/7 virtual showcase, bringing the global wine community together to experience and explore Australia’s thrilling wine scene. The interactive platform is a go-to resource for Australian wine.

As a first-time Smartsheet user, Hall was impressed by her experience, "Smartsheet is the engine which powers our marketplace. We now have a truly dynamic platform which brings the global wine community together.” 

One of the biggest challenges faced by Beales and Hall was how to replace a physical experience with a digital one. From a buyer's perspective, how could they pick stock without visiting a country or attending a trade show? 

“Our team’s biggest KPI is the number of good quality trade connections made per year,” says Hall. Now, instead of walking the floor of a trade show, buyers can filter their exact product requirements in a simple and instant search. They can also input their notes into the CONNECT system. 

Dynamic View ensures time-saving benefits for all

To further improve the wine discovery process, Beales recently introduced Dynamic View, allowing simplified collaboration, in-context guidance and condition-based access control to sensitive information. “Our wineries have used Smartsheet successfully for quite some time to upload detailed information for events,” says Beales. Adding on Dynamic View, exhibitors can now upload and manage their own information via a dashboard and forms.  Smartsheet looks after the administration ahead of trade shows, leaving the wineries to focus on doing business. 

Enabling the wineries to enter their own data means significant time-saving benefits for the Wine Australia team. “With so much information within  the CONNECT system, we’re now just checking, not inputting,” says Beales.

A connected future ensures excellence in experience delivery

With many hopeful that 2022 will herald the return of some form of international travel and live events, Wine Australia has no plans to scale back the CONNECT platform. “Our internal team mantra is that all roads lead to CONNECT,” says Hall. “With over 300 wineries and 3,000 wines on the platform, we’re keen to foster long-term relationships, with CONNECT at the core of experience delivery.” 

Beales and Hall are excited by what they can achieve with Smartsheet. "We have a roadmap of functional enhancements to continually improve the platform," says Beales. Hall says they're always striving to improve analytical processes with plans to utilise Smartsheet charts for KPI reporting and rolling out additional automation tools. “It’s certainly impacted the way we work internally. There are always things we're enhancing in the background,” she says. 

Smartsheet has created logistical efficiencies, centralising the shipping process for wineries sending their produce to events overseas. With complex and time-consuming paperwork required for customs clearance protocols, it was previously left up to producers to ship their own wines internationally. Wine Australia can now take deliveries into one domestic port, with Smartsheet recording all relevant shipping information and key data around certificates of origin. 

With recent, encouraging results from the Australian National Audit Office, Beales is quick to credit Smartsheet with the marketing team’s success, “If Smartsheet disappeared tomorrow, there’d be a major crisis in play!” she laughs. 

Of all their achievements, Beales is most pleased with how Smartsheet allowed them to build the CONNECT platform in just 12 weeks and connect Australian producers to the global market, “We couldn’t have done it without Smartsheet. When I think of the level of sophistication we’ve got to, I’m really proud.”