Wine Australia will invest a record $79 million on behalf of the grape and wine sector in 2019–20, investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), market development and export regulation according to its Annual Operational Plan 2019–20 (AOP) released this week.
Wine Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the sectors’ unwavering focus on improving perceptions of Australian wine internationally was paying dividends.
‘In the period from 1 July 2015 to 30 March 2019, total free on board (FOB) export value has increased by 47 per cent from $1.9 billion to $2.78 billion. At the same time, the average value of all exports has increased by 31 per cent from $2.61 per litre to $3.41 per litre with value growth in all price segments.
‘This increased average value of exports has been accompanied by a 32 per cent increase in the national average wine grape purchase price from $463 per tonne in vintage 2015, to $609 per tonne in vintage 2018.
‘The health of the sector reflects Australian grape growers’ commitment to producing quality grapes sustainably and efficiently and our exporter’s commitment to growing markets by investing in promotion and market presence.’
Mr Clark said Wine Australia was now in the fifth year of Strategic Plan 2015–2020, which as the preceding figures testified, had delivered on its objectives. Consultation would soon begin with the grape and wine sector to inform the development of the next five-year strategic plan. Wine Australia was working with Australian Grape and Wine Inc, which was developing an overarching long-term plan that would guide the objectives of Wine Australia’s five-year plan.
‘We’ll be holding consultation meetings in each state and grapegrowers and winemakers will have the opportunity to provide their opinions on what our RD&E, marketing and regulation priorities should be over the next five-year period’, Mr Clark said.
The record expenditure reflects additional revenue from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, the administration of the $10 million Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant and a drawdown of reserves to support RD&E expenditure.
In 2019–20, Wine Australia will continue to deliver commercially relevant marketing activities that support Australia’s fine wine story to increase demand and the premium paid for all Australian wines.
All of the engagement will be enhanced by the award-winning Australian Wine Discovered educational program and the new consumer website www.australianwine.com.
The flagship activity in the UK and Europe will be the Australia Trade Tasting, Wine Australia’s major annual trade engagement that is the largest annual exhibition of Australian wines in London and Edinburgh.
Export and Regional Wine Support Package priorities
Supported by the Government’s $50m million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, Wine Australia is investing $8 million in Far From Ordinary in the United States of America (USA), our single-largest marketing campaign ever undertaken. Activities will kick off with the Australian Women in Wine Awards in New York and culminate in Australia Decanted at Lake Tahoe, where the immensely successful event of 2018 will be revisited in a nuanced, curated showcase of the best Australia has to offer. Trade activities will be supported by consumer and retail activations and distributor support to ensure that we deliver the most impactful program possible.
In China, key activities will be Prowine China in November 2019, the key trade show in the region, the Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair in March 2020, Vinexpo Hong Kong in May 2020, and the 9th China Roadshow, where Wine Australia will take more than 80 Australian brands to three ‘tier two’ cities and one major tier one metropolis.
Greater engagement with consumers will be a significant focus, with the Australian Wine Discovered education platform helping to engage and educate consumers directly and through the trade. We will also engage with consumers through our new consumer website www.australianwine.com.
The Wine Export Grants within the $50m Package are expected to be fully subscribed by late 2019, with State and Competitive Grant projects required to fully acquit funding by April 2020.
Wine Australia will continue key investments in RD&E to build a better understanding of how grapevine genetics interact with the environment and how to optimise expressions of terroir through viticultural management.
Digital technologies will be evaluated in a range of projects using sensor technologies to assess disease, nutritional status, grape canopy structure, crop condition, quality and yield.
Wine Australia is also managing a project to ensure that grapevine germplasm resources are preserved through a national collection that will ultimately allow greater commercial access to known clones and varieties.
Winery performance will be the focus of investment in new or enhanced technologies and processes to improve winery efficiency, including facilitating the rollout of a new activity-based costing tool that will provide cost benchmarks.
The new financial year will see the launch of Wine Australia’s new wine export approval system, the Wine Export Licensing and Approval System (WALAS), that will deliver exporters enhanced access and provide them with greater flexibility to manage their export and shipping details 24 hours a day.
WALAS will be integral to ensuring that Wine Australia continues to meet expectations on service and turnaround on wine export approvals as we continue to see growth in licensing applications, shipping approvals and certification requests.
The coming year will also see the development of the Wine Export Label Intellectual Property Directory.
In 2019–20, we will help maintain public trust in our wine by auditing the records of up to 300 wine producers. We will concentrate on the areas of highest risk, in particular the wine regions and varieties that are in strongest demand.
Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grants
Wine Australia’s 2019–20 budget includes $10 million dollars for the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant scheme which it is administering on behalf of the Australian Government. Applications for round 1 (based on wine sales during the 2018–19 financial year) will open on 1 July 2019 and will close at 5.00pm ACST on 30 September 2019. For more detail see https://www.wineaustralia.com/wine-tourism-and-cellar-door-grants.
For more detail about what will be delivered in 2019–20, the Wine Australia AOP can be downloaded from https://www.wineaustralia.com/about-us/strategy-and-planning.
 (the latest available figures at the time of the AOP’s preparation)