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Makeover time for Aussie wines

The Australian wine industry needs to undergo a major overhaul so it can regain its place as a leading exporter, according to Foster’s group director, James Lovell.

Lovell said the industry is doing it tough in the face of increased competition and the global financial crisis.

“We’ve all got some adjustments to make,” he told delegates at the Australian Bureau of Agriculture Resource Economics Outlook 2009 conference in Canberra on Tuesday.

Lovell said exports had been steadily increasing between 1990 and 2007 on the back of Australia’s image as a country of fine wines. But since last year, exports had dropped significantly.

“Our competitive advantage has gone and our competitors are catching up.”

According to Lovell, a number of other factors had impacted trade, including a fall in quality, while Australia’s wines had developed reputation of being a bit “the same”, prompting domestic and overseas consumers to look to wines from other countries.

To overcome many of the industry’s problems, Australia’s winegrowers need to tap into growing overseas markets and rejuvenate the “brand Australia” image.

Luxury wines need to be promoted more, while premium labels need to develop a point of difference, he said.

— AAP

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