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Are you export ready?

Answer these questions to determine if you’re ready to export wine to new markets.

Why export wine?

Expanding beyond local borders and selling your wine overseas can help your business thrive in new markets. However, adapting your existing operation to a more globalised process requires time, dedication and resources.

Are you ready to do that? It is important to take the necessary time to formalise your strategy before you start exporting. An export business plan will help you uncover any gaps in your current strategy, as well as inform where you want to go and how you will get there.

Is going global right for your business?

While there are many benefits to exporting wine, it’s not right for every business. Make sure you can answer yes to the following questions before going global. 

Q: Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP)?

Successful wine exporters are those who can convince buyers that their product is unique from the competition. What drives your customers’ purchase decisions? What makes your wine different? Do these two things overlap and are you communicating it in a compelling way?

Learn how to write an effective USP here.

Q: Are you maximising your domestic market?

Domestic success gives you a solid foundation to begin exporting and is a forward investment to grow your brand globally. Be sure you have the volume and resources to maximise the domestic market AND go global. Otherwise, you may not be ready to export.

Q: Can you scale up to meet international demands?

You'll need more resources to boost your capacity and meet increased demand. If you can’t scale up to deliver an order on time, you risk losing the deal – and potential repeat business. You’ll need to be able to supply both new export customers and existing domestic customers.

You may need to:

  • increase your operational capacity
  • invest in more staff and equipment
  • get more working capital
  • improve your production processes. 

Learn more about reviewing your export capability. 

Q: Can you easily modify your wine to suit overseas customers and standards?

Most wine exporters need to make some changes to their products for overseas markets, namely label changes. Other potential changes could include blend changes and/or residual sugar (RS) adjustments to adapt to local tastes.

Q: Is your cash flow steady enough to handle longer-term payments from overseas buyers?

Getting paid for your export orders can be difficult if not managed appropriately. You may also need to protect your business against foreign-currency losses. 

Talk to your accountant or bank and ask for an expert in trade finance and payment mechanisms. This may not be your local branch. Most major banks have online resources to view before you call them. Look at your bank’s website for a trade-finance section. 

Learn more about export costs and payment terms.

Q: Do you know the laws and regulations to get your wine into your chosen markets?

Many new exporters get caught out by not doing their homework on laws and regulations in new wine markets. It can lead to your wine being held at a foreign port, costing you significant time and money.

Find individual market requirements here

Q: Can you – or another team member – take time to build the exporting side of your business?

You'll learn more and progress faster if you've got someone dedicated to your international wine business. For ongoing success, you’ll need an individual or team committed to tasks such as:

  • researching markets
  • finding and qualifying buyers
  • undertaking regular market visits
  • running international marketing campaigns
  • complying with international, Australian and foreign laws and regulations
  • negotiating contracts and payments; and
  • managing international freight and logistics.

Are you willing to dedicate staff, time and resources to a long-term export strategy? 

Q: Can you sustainably manage your competition in international markets?

Market fit in Australia does not necessarily mean market fit in other regions – and each market is different. It's important that you know: 

  • who your competitors are
  • how your wine offering is positioned in the market
  • whether you can sustainably manage the competition; note that in overseas markets, you might also be competing with a large domestic category as well as other major wine export nations such as France, Italy, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, etc.

Q: Do you have a solid support network who can advise you on exporting issues?

Speaking to like-minded winemakers and exporters can be a big help on your export journey. We know many experienced exporters rely on their networks for help when they need it, including peers, competitors and industry organisations like Wine Australia and Austrade. 

Q: Do you have a website or professional online presence to attract international buyers?

Your website, social media presence and e-commerce capabilities are your digital shopfront. Potential partners and customers will use these to assess your wines, your brand and your professionalism. It’s important to make first impressions count. A poorly-designed or out-of-date website will actually do more damage to a brand than having no site at all. Likewise, having a professional social media presence must be a brand priority, as opposed to an afterthought.

Q: Do you have adequate resources to run both your domestic and international businesses concurrently?

It can be difficult to run your domestic business while expanding into a new market at the same time. You’ll need to be close to your new buyers to build trust. For large markets, you’ll need significant resources and commitment. 

Here’s some things to focus on:

Export readiness health check

Here are six key elements you should have under control before you start exporting your wine:

  • Your wine offering: How much volume will you export, what varieties will you make available to overseas customers, how much will you charge and labelling requirements?

  • Risk and culture: Have you evaluated all the risks for your chosen markets, and are you aware of any cultural differences which may impact your export capability?

  • Budget allocation: Have you budgeted for market research, travel expenses, cost of market entry, and promoting your wines in these new regions?

  • Staff skill set: Are you and your team across the essentials of export management, production planning, inventory management, distributor relationships, translation and marketing? Some of these functions could also be outsourced to an external resource.

  • Management reporting: Are you adept at production planning and focused on sales and profitability monitoring?

  • Pricing: Understand your pricing structure for key export markets, ensuring price parity across global markets.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

Levy payers/exporters
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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.