Australian wine: competing on the world stage

The Federal Government yesterday joined some of the leading Australian wine-making families to launch a campaign aiming to place more high-quality local wine on tables overseas.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said Australia exported high volumes of wine, but it was increasingly seen as a cheaper option compared to wines from other countries.

According to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, in the mid-1980s we were a net importer of wine but today we export 2.5 million bottles daily, worth about $2.8 billion annually.

Tonight at the Sydney Opera House, Mr Burke launched Australian First Families of Wine — an initiative to prove to the world that our wines can compete with the best.

Inaugural members of the global marketing push are: Brown Brothers (Victoria); Campbells (Victoria); d’Arenberg (South Australia); De Bortoli (NSW); Henschke (South Australia); Howard Park (Western Australia); Jim Barry (South Australia); McWilliam’s (NSW); Tahbilk (Victoria); Taylors (South Australia); Tyrrell’s (NSW) and Yalumba (South Australia).

Mr Burke said there was a particular opportunity for Australian wines to capture the emerging Asian market, including in Hong Kong and China.

“This is about exporting higher value wines, rather than just a high volume of wines,” Mr Burke said.

“Our wines can be fine wines, not just fun wines — which will strengthen this valuable export market and support more jobs in regional Australia.

“We already produce top quality wines which can out-class rivals from New Zealand, Chile and Argentina, but we need to make sure international consumers know about it.

“The Rudd Government will continue working hard to secure new opportunities for our wine exporters in Asia and other markets.

“Hong Kong intends to be the wine hub for Asia and we must be on the ground, marketing our local wines.”

The Government has already reached formal agreements with the Government of China and the Administration of Hong Kong to secure better access for Australian wine into China.

Earlier this year in Shanghai, Australian wine writer Jeremy Oliver launched his Enjoying Australian Wine book.

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