Australia sets five-year strategic wine plan

Wine Australia Day 1-1

“Our goal is a prosperous Australian grape and wine community and we have two priorities – increasing demand and the premium paid for all Australian wines and increasing competitiveness,” said Andreas Clark, Wine Australia CEO.

Wine Australia supports the wine industry by investing in research and development, both in local and in international markets. The organisation aims to also protect the reputation of Australian wine and administer the Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

From the Australian Wine Made Our Way campaign to the Aussie Wine Week in the US, looks like the local wine industry has a lot of of exciting times ahead which both the global and local consumers can look forward to.

But how does the country face the tougher worldwide wine climate – with the likes of Spain, France and other leading countries also producing high quality wines? Clark spoke to Inside FMCG about the strategic plan to strengthen the Australian wine industry both internationally and locally.

Inside FMCG: It’s quite a busy year for Wine Australia. Tell us about the company’s five-year strategic plan.

Andreas Clark: Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020 outlines our key investment priorities in research and development, marketing, disseminating knowledge, encouraging adoption and protecting the reputation of Australian wine. These investments are guided by the Australian grape and wine community’s priorities. Our Strategic Plan was developed following extensive consultation with grape growers, winemakers, sector bodies, government and other key stakeholders.

Inside FMCG: Any challenges Wine Australia is facing in the business sector?

Our first challenge [is] the general global perception of the quality and provenance of our wines is – in our view – less than the reality, and this translates into lower prices for our wine than are warranted. While this challenge affects the whole sector, its impact is greatest on the fine wine segment. Our second challenge [is] to profitably compete in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. We must continue to improve the competitiveness of our wine offering through productivity gains, innovation, differentiation and meeting market demand.

Inside FMCG: Tell us about the different programs or projects Wine Australia has under its belt that we can look forward to this year.

Wine Australia will invest A$67.8 million in an ambitious agenda for 2018 – 19, with the support of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package. We have a packed program of activities, including significant investments in the USA, which will be spearheaded by the Australian Wine Made Our Way campaign.

Australia Decanted (22 – 26 July) will flow into Aussie Wine Week in September 2018, and then consumer activations in New York City will build into a month-long celebration of Australian wine across the US market in September 2019.

Inside FMCG: What can we expect during the Aussie Wine Week in September?

Aussie Wine Week is focused on the trade rather than consumers. The intent is to build recognition and appreciation of Australian wine within the ‘influencer’ community and gradually build towards consumer impact. Held 10-14 September 2018 in New York and San Francisco, Aussie Wine Week will feature a series of media and marketing events that will celebrate Australia’s wine and food culture and build the enthusiasm for Australian wine among media, influencers, on-premise/sommeliers and wine enthusiasts.

Inside FMCG: There was a revision of the wine export regulations this year. How will it impact the Australian business sector?

The first complete revision of wine export regulations in nearly 40 years was approved by Federal Parliament in April 2018, giving Wine Australia greater powers to protect the reputation of Australian wine by ensuring the bonafides of potential and existing exporters. This area will be a crucial focus to secure the foundations of Australian wine’s reputation while promotional campaigns were scaled-up.

Inside FMCG: How will you retain having a strong position in the international liquor sector?

Our organisation is principally involved in promoting wine internationally as 61 per cent of wine produced in Australia is exported and we are the fifth largest wine exporter internationally. In the 12 months to the end of March 2018, Australian wine was exported to more 120 destinations across the world, reflecting the global thirst for our fine wines.

Inside FMCG: How will the Australian Government’s $50 million export and regional wine support package help Wine Australia?

The purpose of the A$50m package is to accelerate growth in the fastest growing export markets by value, China and the US. Wine Australia is responsible for delivering the one-off Package (over three years) in consultation with the [local]wine sector and we’re investing heavily in targeted activities to take advantage of the favourable economic conditions in these markets – i.e. the fall in dollar and tariff reductions. The package is split into four mutually-reinforcing programs. A$32.5 million has been allocated to a targeted international marketing strategy which aims to raise the perception of and demand for Australian wine in key markets.

Inside FMCG: Tell us about the Wine Export Grant program.

The remaining three programs are designed to assist wine exporters and businesses in leveraging these marketing efforts. The A$1 million Wine Export Grant program is stimulating export promotion activity in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and the US, with reimbursement grants for eligible wine producers.

While the A$10 million International Wine Tourism Grant program (made up of state and competitive grants) is enhancing wine tourism experiences and driving collaboration between key sector partners. A$500,000 has also been invested in development of a go-to-market brand strategy for the Australian cider industry. Ultimately, the end goal for the package is to grow our market share and the average value per litre sold in China and the US.

Inside FMCG: How does Wine Australia support the grape growers in terms of digital technologies?

Over recent years our research has supported the development of digital technologies in a portfolio of projects using sophisticated sensors to quickly and accurately assess disease, nutritional status, grape canopy structure, crop condition and quality parameters. During the coming year, we plan to deliver a suite of tools arising from this research that can be used in the vineyard and winery. We will also extend information about how to implement research findings on objective measures for grape quality that will improve the efficiency of grape and wine production.

Inside FMCG: Tell us about the new digital approval system the company will introduce next year.

All Australian wine exports must go through an export approval system managed by Wine Australia. We have a digital approval system that has been in place for nearly 20 years. In 2018 – 19, we will introduce a new digital export approval system that will improve and simplify the application process for wine exporters.

We are working closely with exporters to deliver a more intuitive system that will reduce the time it takes to request approvals. A major training and education strategy will be delivered before the roll-out of the new system to ensure a smooth transition.

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