Wine Victoria today welcomed the Investments featured in Victorian Government's 2014-15 State Budget.
Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan said that of particular value to the wine industry was the Government's commitment to:
- Boost exports of premium food and beverage products into Asian markets as part of the Government's Food and Agriculture into Asia plan; and
- Fund major campaigns to be undertaken in interstate markets to maintain awareness and tourist visitation to regional Victoria.
Victoria has 21 distinct wine regions that span the state. There are more than 800 wineries that produce a wide range of wine varieties that are exported to more than 80 countries. There are over 600 cellar doors with associated wine tourism experiences that receive 1.5 million winery visitors per year.
"The Victorian wine industry is currently worth $1.04 billion per annum and our industry exports more than 120 million litres of wine every year," Mr Sheehan said.
"The key competitive advantage of Victorian wine is its premium positioning, by nature, most Victorian producers are smaller and boutique, producing higher grade wines," he said.
"Despite our advantage the wine industry has been struggling with profitability issues and support to increase exporting opportunities and tourism visitation is absolutely required," he said.
An report commissioned by the Winemakers Federation of Australia identified a 'perfect storm' of economic pressures (high Australian dollar, falling export demand, and the oversupply which has resulted from excess planting and wine making capacity) that have resulted in declining profits in the Australian wine industry since 2007.
The report highlights that export returns have declined sharply in key traditional markets especially the US, UK and Canada, coinciding with the rise of the Australian dollar.
Additionally in the domestic market, industry is being squeezed by concentrated retailing power and increased cheap imports; these shifts in demand have created an 'oversupply' of grapes and wine.
"The wine industry is one of the last regionally-based manufacturing industries that value-adds, directly employing over 2,600 regional Victorians in grape growing and winemaking, and indirectly employing more than 11,500 through administration, tourism and hospitality functions," Mr Sheehan said.
"We look forward to working with the Government on their budget commitments to strengthen the Victorian wine industry, ensuring our industry can continue to support the prosperity of our state," he said.
Wine Victoria Chair, Mr Damien Sheehan
Executive Officer, Wine Victoria
M: 0422 067 858