The conversations had with myself, our Board and Regional Council have helped to shape our agenda and we will be taking this information forward to our current and aspiring political leaders.
In this edition we will hear from the Minister for Trade, The Hon. Louise Asher and Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development, The Hon. Jacinta Allan on their views on the future of Victorian wine exports.
Export is an important economic driver for Victoria and key profitability indicator for the wine industry. Victorian wine is exported to 80 countries and has an annual value of almost $275 million per annum.
As part of a Wine Victoria survey, it was revealed that despite the high proportion of Victorian wine companies exporting, more than two thirds earned less than 40 per cent of their income from exports.
This is a worrying trend, particularly as oversupply and the retailing market are crunching domestic market growth – expanding international markets are key to Victoria's and our industry's future.
The good news is that Victoria's specialty; premium wine, is in demand around the world.
In fact recent reports from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) highlighted that during the 2013-14 financial year premium wine (over $7.50 per litre) grew in many markets generating almost $450m in annual sales, or a quarter of the value of Australia's wine export market.
The trend was greater at the higher price point, with the strongest growth seen in wines greater than $50 per litre, growing by 25 per cent.
The AGWA report also highlighted that 2013-14 was the first year where premium wine exports to Britain grew since 2007, and confirmed US sales of premium wine have been growing for two years.
The same report also highlighted the need for a diversified exporting approach and support for growing emerging and traditional markets. After strong growth over the past five years, the wine market in China slowed as government austerity measures and weaker consumer confidence in the first half of the year hit the wine market. Total wine imports from all source countries, including Australia, declined.
To secure international demand for wine from Victoria's wine regions, Wine Victoria knows that the task of increasing exports needs more commitment.
A key recommendation we will be making is the need for a regularly occurring partnership of activities such as in and out bound trade related activities between the Victorian Government and industry experts such as AGWA. This will allow the opportunity to position Victoria's wine regions as a supplier of premium product to international buyers and influencers.
This approach will ensure trade/export based objectives are a true partnership and will lead to a more profitable industry.