Wine Australia survey identifies key sales advantages

Opportunities to increase direct-to-consumer sales through paid tastings, food and wine pairings and enhanced wine tourism experiences are among the key findings of Wine Australia’s first cellar door and direct-to-consumer survey.

On October 30, Wine Australia released the full findings of its August 2018 survey of 180 wine companies, as part of the Australian government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

The survey shows that cellar doors are the driving force behind direct-to-consumer sales in Australia, accounting for 44 per cent of direct-to-consumer revenue – ahead of wine clubs and mail orders.

Overall, direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 10 per cent of all domestic wine sales for the survey’s respondents.

READ: Australian wine continues to be the flavour of international markets

Wineries that produce less than 1000 cases relied on direct avenues for 68 per cent of sales and wineries in the 1000–5000 case bracket achieved 40 per cent of sales through direct-to-consumer channels.

In contrast, wine brands with production above 50,000 cases recorded just 4 per cent of sales through direct-to-consumer channels.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said about two–thirds of Australian wineries produced fewer than 5,000 cases, which highlighted the importance of direct-to-consumer channels to the majority of wine businesses.

“This is really the first time we’ve benchmarked operations in this space and in future surveys we’ll be able to measure changes and provide wineries with insights to help them develop their direct-to-consumer strategies.

“The survey shows that nearly 90 per cent of respondents have a cellar door, with this channel accounting for close to half of all direct-to-consumer sales on average, and significant investments are being made at cellar doors across Australia, with two-thirds found to be open 7 days a week,” said Clark.

“Although 86 per cent of respondents offered food, such as a restaurant or platters, only 28 per cent of cellar doors offered matched food and wine tasting experiences.

“There’s a huge opportunity here for wineries, as food and wine tourism is a growing market, particularly if you’re looking at tourists from the China and USA markets. It’s also a key focus of our $50m Package activities,” he said.

“High-value travellers rank good food and wine in the top five most important factors when choosing a holiday destination, according to Tourism Australia research,” said Clark.