Wine Victoria, the peak body representing the interests of the Victorian wine industry, will work closely with the state Government to roll out a $1 million investment aimed at boosting Victorian wine tourism and exports.
The $1 million plan was announced today by Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, the Honourable Jaala Pulford, as part of the government's 2015-16 budget. The plan includes the establishment of a Wine Industry Ministerial Advisory Group and funding to develop a Victorian Wine Tourism Strategy.
Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan welcomed Minister Pulford for her announcement at Mount Langi Ghiran Winery in the Grampians, where he is the General Manager.
"Wine Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government's support of the wine industry at a time when many of the industry are doing it tough," said Sheehan.
"The investment announced today gives us the ability to partner with the government on key issues that can reverse our profitability issues," he said.
"As the Australian dollar drops and the strength of Victoria's tourism grows, now is the time to increase the understanding of our fantastic wine offering by increasing cellar door visitation and growing exports in key markets."
Tourism is a major economic driver for Victoria, with wine related tourism worth more than $1.5 billion per year to Victoria's economy. With 21 distinct wine regions, Victoria sees 1.5 million annual winery visitors and 12,000 people are employed in wine related jobs.
The wine industry is also an important exporting partner for Victoria and known to be one of the state's most valuable food export categories, worth $197 million per year and growing.
"We're looking forward to the government's Meet the Wine Maker inbound trade mission in late May, as these events are a big step towards building the profile of Victoria's premium wines and getting our products in front of important international wine buyers," said Sheehan.
Sheehan said the commitments are a welcome answer to what the association has been recommending to both parties since before the state election last year.
"As the Victorian wine industry's peak advocacy body, we have been encouraging the Government to partner with industry on these sorts of activities, so this support is significant for Victorian wine producers," he said.
"With tough barriers like wine oversupply and fierce international competition, we need all the support we can get to help make the Victorian wine industry thriving again."