|Long term viability challenge for Wine Australia
Monday, 3 December 2007
The Australian wine sector has set itself the goal to improve quality and long-term sustainability, following the prediction of a lower than average harvest.
The 2008 harvest has been forecast to total just 1.22 million tonnes, down from the current estimate of last year's harvest of 1.47mt.
The annual supply and demand assessment was delivered at last week's Wine Industry Outlook Conference by Lawrie Stanford, manager information and analysis at the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.
He says these figures reflect the impact of the current drought on Australia's vineyards.
But while yields are down, prices are expected to increase for wine grapes.
"The opportunity out of the predicted harvest is for the Australian wine sector to shift its focus from volume to value," chief executive of AWBC Sam Tolley said.
"It is incumbent on us, as an industry, to use this period as a strategic stepping stone; the currency of our success must be measured by value and not volume alone.
"Increasing our average dollar per litre price is ambitious, however there are compelling reasons for people to choose Australian wine."
Mr Tolley said improving the marketing of Australian wine was a must, as well as improving quality to justify the predicted higher prices.
"Under significant supply constraints, it will always be an individual company's choice as to which markets and indeed which customers they choose to prioritise," he said.
"However, we also have a collective duty to provide clear direction for the industry; that is ensuring that demand remains strong even in times of constraint and if there is to be an according rise in price it still needs to be justified."
SOURCE: National GrapeGrower & Vigneron and FarmOnline.