Australia’s young guns of wine announced in Adelaide

South Australian winemakers Damon and Jono Koerner from Koerner Wine in the Clare Valley have taken out the 2019 Riedel Young Gun of Wine award.

In its 13th year, the Young Gun of Wine awards aim to celebrate emerging wine producers. This year was the first time the ceremony was held in South Australia.

Koerner were awarded for their 2018 ‘Grace’ Riesling and 2018 ‘La Corse’ red wine.

Damon said the pair was thrilled with their win.

“It’s made even better by the fact that we’re doing it as brothers, we’re doing what we love and we have a great time doing it,” he said.

“And it’s nice to be recognised on a national level for something we’ve put a fair bit of time and effort into.

“We’re lucky that we grew up on a family vineyard that produces amazingly high quality fruit and we’ve just put a lot of effort into making very pure, fresh, pristine wines.”

Koerner was one of three South Australian finalists in the annual competition with winemakers also coming from Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

It was the third year the brothers Koerner were finalists.

“The wines we entered from 2018 were by far the best we’ve ever made, and I think that’s probably why they stood out,” Damon said.

“Because it’s been the effort of mum and dad’s work before us in creating the vineyard and our work in making the wines.”

Damon said they aimed to produce wines that were true to the vineyard and varietals, with textures that didn’t mask other components of the wine.

The competition featured a diverse range of Australian wines including two vermouths by Sacha La Forgia at Adelaide Hills Distillery and a pinot noir by Switch Organic Wine.

Wines were selected by a panel of more than 100 sommeliers, winemakers and trade leaders, and judged by industry professionals.

Wine Australia launching new online strategy to support exports

Enhancing the perceptions of global wine consumers is the goal of new Australian wine website and other consumer-targeted activities from Wine Australia in 2019.

Wine Australia’s new “Australian Wine Made Our Way” brand platform will underpin investments, which are supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said these activities are part of a broader strategy to build perception of and demand for Australian wine and wine tourism among the wine trade and consumers in Australia’s largest and fastest-growing export markets.

“We are excited to showcase the people, places and processes that make Australian wines unique with wine consumers globally,” Clark said.

“Our targeted events, media and education campaigns – such as the recently launched Australian Wine Discovered education program – are amplifying positive sentiment, interest and excitement around the Australian wine category, and building trade and consumer demand for our wine and tourism offerings.”

Clark said Wine Australia was also increasing its presence on social media and e-commerce platforms globally to better speak with consumer audiences.

“In the past, our resources have been largely trade focused,” he said.

“The $50m package is allowing us to step up consumer engagement through digital media and connect with a larger audience.”

Australian wine has record breaking presence at expo in China

Australian wine took centre stage in mid-November with a record-breaking presence at ProWine China 2018 – an international trade fair for wine and spirits.

Wine Australia’s largest-ever pavilion showcased Australia’s booming wine sector at the event, based in Shanghai.

A record 47 exhibitors showcased 90 wine brands – compared to 40 brands in 2017 ­– from more than 20 wine regions across Australia, including Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Beechworth, Clare Valley and Yarra Valley.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said China is such a critical market so it was great to see the pavilion jam-packed with Chinese wine trade, hearing the stories of wineries and learning about the diversity of styles available.

READ: Wine Australia looks at trends for smaller exporters

“Thanks to the [Australian government’s] $50m [wine] package, we were able to hit the trade show en masse and give wineries the opportunity to bolster relationships with existing clients or connect with prospective partners face-to-face – be they importers, distributors, wine merchants or food and beverage managers.

“Between the 47 exhibitors, 6 in-pavilion tastings, 2 master classes and a seminar on cutting-edge wine business technology, the “Australian Wine Made Our Way” themed pavilion was bustling with activity,” said Clark.

In-pavilion tasting classes inlcuded:

  • the next wave of Shiraz from Victoria – including Heathcote, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Grampians and Pyrenees
  • Margaret River’s emergence as a world-class region for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon
  • alternative varieties – exploring the diversity of McLaren Vale wines
  • a tasting journey exploring the Barossa’s diverse palette of varieties, flavours and textures

The public master classes showcased rare and distinguished Barossa varieties, blends, estates, single vineyards and flagship releases; and the history and tradition of premium McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Exhibitor Damian Shaw, managing director of Philip Shaw Wines in Orange, said there is a good strength of Australians representing in this market.

Helen McCarthy, from Mountadam Vineyards in Eden Valley, said relationships are really important, especially in the China market where they’re key to doing business.

“It’s important for us to come and support our importer in building those relationships.

“In some of the tastings I’ve done external to ProWine, it’s been quite a generational change. A lot of younger excited people are learning about wine. It’s just so different to 10 years ago,” said McCarthy.

China has become Australia’s biggest and most valuable wine export market. Exports, including Hong Kong and Macau, soared 55 per cent to more than $800 million in the past 12 months, accounting for 40 per cent of Australia’s total exports, Wine Australia indicates.

Wine Australia looks at trends for smaller exporters

In the year ended September 2018, there were 2401 active Australian wine exporters, Wine Australia explains.

The majority of these – 87 per cent – are companies that export fewer than 10,000 cases per year.

Another 9 per cent export between 10,000 and 50,000 cases per year, and only 4 per cent of exporters ship more than 50,000 cases each year.

The 3 per cent of companies that ship more than 100,000 cases contribute 88 per cent of the volume and 74 per cent of the value of total Australian wine exports.

READ: NSW international wine tourism enriched with $2 million boost

Interestingly, companies that ship fewer than 50,000 cases per year contribute a much higher share to value – 21 per cent – than to volume – 9 per cent, because smaller wine producers sell their wines at higher price points, while many bigger companies ship unpackaged wine at lower average prices, Wine Australia indicates.

For example, shipments that are valued below $2.50 per litre free on board and above $10 per litre have an equal share of total value – about 25 per cent – for companies that ship more than 50,000 cases per year.

In contrast, for companies that ship less than 50,000 cases, 50 per cent by value is shipped at above $10 per litre.

Overall, companies that exported more than 50,000 cases per year contributed $191 million to the increase in value of Australian exports – a growth rate of 10 per cent over the previous year, while companies that exported fewer than 50,000 cases contributed $75 million – a growth rate of 15 per cent.

Growing wine exports is a key focus of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

In October 2018, Wine Australia commenced its Growing Wine Exports program for new and experienced wine exporters looking to grow their exports and give their export strategies a health check.

The program comprises one-day Export Ready Sessions and two-day Export Plan Workshops that are being rolled out nationally throughout 2018–19.

 

Wine Australia: China is Australia’s most valuable wine export market 

China is Australia’s largest wine export market by value and – along with the USA – it is a key focus of Wine Australia’s dedicated marketing activities.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said it is critically important for Australia to have a strong presence in China.

“China is Australia’s most valuable wine export market and the growth in China is a testament to the wine sector and the great work being done to stimulate more interest and educate Chinese consumers on the quality and diversity of fine Australian wine,” said Clark.

Exports to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, grew 24 per cent to $1.06 billion in the 12 months to end September 2018, Wine Australia indicates.

READ: Australian grapegrowers and consumers becoming more experimental

Wine Australia is gearing-up for two of the wine sector’s major China events for 2018 – the 6th annual Wine Australia China Awards and ProWine China.

The China Awards ceremony and gala dinner will be held on November 12 at the Bvlgari Hotel in Shanghai.

The ceremony will recognise trade, media and educators who are actively adding their mark to the growth, demand and sales of Australian wine in China.

This year’s awards will honour achievements across eight categories, including:

  • Best Australian Wine List (sponsored by KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show)
  • Best Australian Wine Promotional Campaign – on premise
  • Best Australian Wine Promotional Campaign – online stores
  • Best Australian Wine Educator (sponsored by Barossa Wine School)
  • Best Feature Story on Australian Wine – consumer media
  • Best Feature Story on Australian Wine – trade media
  • Online Wine Communicator of the Year (sponsored by McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association), and
  • Online Food and Wine Communicator of the Year (sponsored by Tourism Australia).

The judging panel for the China Awards includes a Master Sommelier, a Master of Wine, industry leaders, and a line-up of key trade, media and wine education influencers.

Clark said the annual Wine Australia China Awards are a major celebration of the wine sector, offering a fantastic opportunity to celebrate people and businesses and helping to promote premium Australian wine in China.

 

“Just this week we took part in the first China International Import Expo, which brought together thousands of companies from over 130 countries to connect with domestic and foreign buyers.

“The Chinese Government put a lot of support behind this event,” said Clark.

The events are supported by the Australian government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Next in line is China’s international trade fair for wine and spirits, ProWine China held  November 13-15 at Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

This year, Australia will showcase its largest-ever pavilion with close to 90 brands representing more than 20 wine regions across 5 states.

 

 

Australian grapegrowers and consumers becoming more experimental

The Australian grape and wine community is well known for its experimental and innovative attitudes towards growing and producing wine, Wine Australia explains.

The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) is one event that both encourages interest in different varieties and showcases new gems.

With the next AAVWS to be held in Mildura from November 7-10, Wine Australia wanted to gauge what’s happening in this sector.

While there’s ample conversation to be had over a glass of vino or two about whether these varieties should be called ‘alternative’ or ‘new-to-Australia’ or even ‘emerging’ it’s clear that there is an enormous amount of interest in trying something different.

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

While viticulturalists and winemakers are the ones leading the way, consumers are willing to try and enjoy new sensations such as Prosecco.

While the vast majority of the wine produced in Australia still comes from a handful of varieties – two-thirds of the 2018 winegrape crush came from four varieties – there are more than 130 wine grape varieties grown across Australia, with 120 making up just 11 per cent of the crush.

Shiraz grape varieties make up the largest portion at 24 per cent, with chardonnay following close by with 23 per cent.

Pinot Noir, Colombard, Muscat Gordo Blanco and Semillon make up the smallest portion – each holding 3 per cent.

A growing number of Australian vignerons and winemakers are expanding beyond the traditional varieties and including a wide range of alternative varieties in their portfolios.

This includes numerous Italian varieties that are now emerging in Australia, such as Prosecco, Sangiovese, Fiano and Vermentino.

While some emerging varieties are planted to respond to changing consumer preferences, others are experimental to counter some of the predicted future impacts of climate change, and for some winemakers it is an ancestral connection to other winegrowing regions around the world.

Prosecco is the fastest growing of the emerging Italian varieties, with the crush growing from 2500 tonnes in 2015 to more than 7000 tonnes in 2018.

This reflects the growth in popularity of Australian Prosecco among Australian wine drinkers.

According to IRI Worldwide, the value of Australian Prosecco sales in the domestic off-trade market almost trebled over the past three years. In comparison, sales of Australian Sangiovese over the same period increased by 2 per cent per annum.

Emerging varieties are grown across Australia’s wine regions, and researchers and grapegrowers are working together to grow the pool of knowledge about where in the world to look for varieties that might suit the varying regional conditions across the Australian continent from Western Australia’s Margaret River to Queensland’s Granite Belt.

NSW international wine tourism enriched with $2 million boost

The New South Wales wine sector will benefit from a $2 million marketing campaign aimed at boosting international visits to the state’s wine regions.

The NSW Wine Industry Association has secured $1m in funding through the International Wine Tourism State Grants program and $1m in matching state funds through the NSW government to partner with Destination NSW on a targeted international marketing campaign.

The association and the Destination NSW marketing campaign aims to increase international tourists’ overnight stays in NSW wine regions by 12,000 nights in both 2019 and 2020.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the NSW application was approved by the Australian government following assessment by an independent expert assessment panel.

READ: Wine Australia survey identifies key sales advantages

“The $5m state grants program is designed to enhance wine tourism experiences and drive collaboration between key sector partners.

“Wine is a key driver of international visitors to Australia but there’s a relatively untapped opportunity for the wine sector to focus on wine tourism product development. To grow the visitor economy, we need compelling experiences that go beyond the cellar door,” said Clark.

By partnering with Destination NSW on a targeted marketing campaign, the association can ensure the ongoing resilience and competitiveness of the wine tourism sector, he said.

NSW Wine Industry Association executive officer Angus Barnes said the strategy targets the four largest markets for international visitors to NSW – China at 16 per cent, South Korea at 15 per cent, the United Kingdom at 14 per cent, and USA at 12 per cent.

“It is tailored to individual regional preferences within these markets.

“We’ll be using critical data to understand current drivers and visit trends, so we can reposition NSW wines and regional experiences with a sophisticated and targeted marketing campaign,” said Barnes.

“Our campaign has two primary goals – to attract more international visitors to our wine regions and to grow the visitor economy by driving overnight stays and increased spending,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said good food and wine is meant to be shared, and that’s exactly what this will do,” said Littleproud.

“New South Wales winemakers are among the world’s best and the world should know about it.

“We’re backing NSW winemakers so they can host more foreign tourists in their top-notch wine regions,” he said.

“NSW wine shouldn’t be kept secret – let’s get the word out and the tourists in,” said Littleproud.

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.

Australian exhibitors showcase wines at festival in Hong Kong

Australia has cemented its position as a highly popular country precinct at the 10th Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival held on October 25-28.

Wine Australia reports the festival is Hong Kong’s largest consumer-facing event that attracts more than 144,000 attendees.

In its third year at the event, the Australian wine sector introduced festival goers to an enhanced program of fun and educational activities to give them a lasting impression of the country’s wine scene, with support from the Australian government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

The ‘Australian Wine Made Our Way bar’ featured a diverse line-up of premium wines from 12 regions across Australia –the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Hunter Valley, Langhorne Creek, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Mornington Peninsula, Riverina, Rutherglen and Tumbarumba.

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

Two themed wine stalls – the ‘refreshing sparkling, white and rosé booth’ and the ‘rich and bold red booth’ – gave patrons a chance to explore a collection of varieties that are on-trend in Australia and are becoming popular in Hong Kong.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said for this year’s event, Wine Australia focused on enhancing its presence to have a greater appeal to consumers.

“When they come to the Australia precinct, we want them to enjoy themselves while learning what our great wines have to offer. It’s about creating a lasting impression of our winemakers, our regions and our diverse and premium wines,” said Clark.

The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival kicked off a line-up of China-focused activities over the next month, with the China International Import Expo, the Wine Australia China Awards and ProWine China all happening from early-to-mid November.

 

 

Australian wine continues to be the flavour of international markets

Australian wine exports continue to experience strong growth, with an increase of 11 per cent in value to $2.71 billion for the year ended 30 September 2018.

Wine Australia reports that Australian wine also rose in volume to 5 per cent to 842 million litres, for the year ended 30 September 2018.

Shipments of bottled wine increased by 8 per cent in value to $2.16b and 2 per cent in volume to 366m litres.

Shipments of unpackaged wine also grew strongly, with a 23 per cent increase in value to $525m and a 9 per cent increase in volume to 468m litres.

READ: Australian wine exports to Canada increase in volume and value

There were also increases in the average value of wine exported, with a 7 per cent increase for bottled wine to $5.90 per litre, a 13 per cent increase of unpackaged wine to $1.12 per litre and a 5 per cent increase of all wine exported to $3.21 per litre.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said today’s export figures show that there has been strong and sustainable growth over the past 12 months, delivering the third year of double-digit growth on a year ended September basis.

“These figures are the result of a lot of hard work by Australia’s 2401 wine exporters, the people who spend time in market to build their brands, distribution networks and awareness of all that Australian wine has to offer consumers.

“Australia exports more than 60 per cent of the wine we produce, so it’s important that we continue to build our export markets,” he said.

“In the 12 months to 30 September, there was healthy growth across the price spectrum. Exports above $10 per litre increased by 20 per cent to $804m, with the $20 to $29.99 segment in particular, showing considerable growth. Below $10 per litre, the $5 to $7.49 segment was the star, growing by $50m,” said Clark.

Exports grew to all but one of the major destination regions.

The standout growth of 24 per cent was experienced in Northeast Asia, where exports grew to $1.14b in value, while in North America, a $16m increase in exports to Canada only partially offset a $38m decline in exports to the United States of America.

Regions in growth:

  • Northeast Asia, by 24 per cent to $1.14b
  • Europe, by 5 per cent to $604m
  • Southeast Asia, by 5 per cent to $170m
  • Oceania, by 21 per cent to $105m
  • Middle East, by 41 per cent to $30m

“Growing the China and the USA markets is the key focus of the Australian government’s export and regional wine support package. We are seeing strong growth in China and we have redoubled our efforts in the USA to capture more of the premium end of the market as American consumers trade up to higher priced wines,” said Clark.

“There is positive sentiment about Australian wine in the USA among key influencers and consumers. While consolidation at the distribution level of the three-tier system is proving to be a difficult barrier to overcome, the hard work of Australian exporters willing to get in to market is starting to pay off,” he said.

Australian orange exports increase but drought still burdens other sectors

Rabobank’s agribusiness October outlook indicates growth in wine and fruit exports, but meat and grains are falling short.

The monthly report shows that fresh orange exports continue to grow in price and volume, as well as wine exports to Canada.

Canada is one of the top wine export destinations for Australia by value.

For July and August 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, Australian exports of all wine to Canada have lifted by about 17 per cent in volume and 7 per cent in value.

READ: Cattle prices trend down as drought conditions increase pressure in market

Fresh orange exports have grown substantially since 2013, with global trade data indicating total Australian fresh orange exports of 197,000 tonnes in 2017.

Global trade data shows that in 2017, key Australian export markets for oranges had increased in value by $107m, which is almost double the 2013 value.

Over the same period, export volumes grew by about 46,000 tonnes, an increase of about 50 per cent on 2013.

Despite growth in some wine and fruit markets, dry weather and frost damaged winter crops in the grains and oilseed sector, with south-west New South Wales missing out on much needed rain over September.

Rabobank reports that parts of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia were hit with frosty conditions, which caused significant damage to crops.

The Frost and ongoing dry conditions have reduced 2018/19 new crop prospects on grains and oilseeds.

Wool supply is set to continue to fall in the coming months and a dry outlook gives downside potential for young cattle.

A three-month outlook of the weather is expected to bring little rain to the country.

Despite the dry conditions, cattle prices lifted slightly or stayed steady throughout September and some rainfall through eastern states provided hope and ability to hold cattle rather than sell them, Rabobank reports.

September slaughter numbers (567,400 head) in the eastern states continue to reflect the drought-induced sales, up 15 per cent year-on-year.

Beef exports for September (91,668 tonnes swt) remain high, up 4 per cent year-on-year.

China remains hungry for Australian beef with exports up 55 per cent year-on-year, however they still remain Australia’s fourth-largest export market behind Japan, the US, and South Korea.

Live exports in comparison to 2017 YTD (August) are up 21 per cent, with stronger volumes to Indonesia and Vietnam throughout the year to date up 10 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

In addition, live exports to countries besides Indonesia and Vietnam (such as Malaysia and Middle East) has increased 195 per cent, since 2017 year-to-date.

 

 

Australian wine exports to Canada increase in volume and value

In 2017–18, the volume of Australian exports to Canada increased by 11 per cent, to 7.6 million cases, and value increased by 7 per cent to $199 million.

Canada is Australia’s fourth biggest export destination by volume and value.

Exports grew by value to all ten provinces. More than 80 per cent of Australian wine by value is shipped to three provinces – Québec, British Columbia and Ontario.

British Columbia was the stand-out with volume up by 29 per cent and value up by 12 per cent.

READ: Australian wine export grants increase to $1.5 million

Québec, Ontario and British Columbia are also the three largest provincial wine markets in Canada with a combined volume share of 82 per cent.

Québec is the biggest provincial wine market in Canada with total sales of 18.9m cases.

In 2017–18, wine sales grew by 5 per cent, driven predominantly by imported wines from France, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Australia is the fourth ranked wine category behind France, Canada, and Italy.

Australian exports to Québec increased by 2 per cent in volume and 9 per cent in value in 2017–18.

There was growth in both Australian bottled and unpackaged exports, but the growth was significantly stronger in unpackaged exports.

The average value of bottled exports increased marginally to $5.39 per litre, while unpackaged exports increased by 16 per cent to $1.02.

Exports of red and white wines grew, but the growth was much stronger for whites.

Red wine exports increased by 5 per cent to $28m while whites increased by 18 per cent to $15m.

There were 78 Australian companies exporting to Québec during the year – up from 65 the year before.

Ontario is the second biggest provincial wine market in Canada with total sales of 15.8m cases.

In 2017–18, wine sales grew by 2 per cent with wines from Italy, the United States of America and Canada the key growth categories.

Australia is the fourth ranked category behind Canada, Italy and USA.

Australian exports to Ontario increased by 11 per cent in volume and 3 per cent in value in 2017–18.

British Columbia is the third biggest provincial wine market in Canada with total sales of 8.5m cases sold.

In 2017–18, sales were flat in British Columbia with growth in wines from Canada and Italy offsetting declines from most other suppliers such as USA and Argentina.

Australia is the fourth ranked supplier behind Canada, USA and Italy.

Australian exports to British Columbia increased by 29 per cent in volume and 12 per cent in value in 2017–18.

 

Australian wine export grants increase to $1.5 million

More wine businesses visiting China and the USA to build their exports will benefit following a 50 per cent increase in funding for the Wine Export Grants program.

The total pool of funding for the Wine Export Grants program has increased to $1.5 million, in recognition of the high demand for the grants.

Wine Export Grants of up to $25,000 are available for small and medium wine producers to reimburse 50 per cent of specific export promotion expenses.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said the $500,000 boost is welcome news for wine producers.

READ: Australian wine exports to Germany grow by $10 million in one year

“Since the grants opened on 2 January 2018, we’ve approved more than $500,000 of funding for participation in international tradeshows, and a high volume of claims is currently undergoing assessment.

“This funding boost means more support for wine businesses looking to grow their exports, or secure new distribution channels, in the key markets of China and the USA,” said Clark.

The grants are a key component of the Australian government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, which aims to drive demand for wine exports and showcase the nation’s wine tourism.

Administered by Wine Australia, the program invites eligible wine producers in Australia to apply for reimbursement grants of up to $25,000 for 50 per cent of specific export promotion expenses.

Eligible claims include:

  • reimbursement of travel expenses for a single promotional visit to China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and/or the USA
  • the cost of providing free samples of the wine you’re promoting for export
  • participation in trade fairs and in-store promotions, and
  • marketing and advertising.

Each eligible wine producer can only receive the grant once within the duration of the grant program.

The grants are open for applications until May 1, 2020, or until the funds are exhausted.

Australian wine exports to Germany grow by $10 million in one year

Australian wine exports to Germany have grown solidly from 37 million litres valued at $49 million in 2016–17 to 40 million litres valued at $59 million in 2017–18, a wine report indicates.

According to the Global Trade Atlas, in 2017–18, Italy was the biggest imported wine category by volume with a 35 per cent share, followed by Spain at 26 per cent, France at 15 per cent, South Africa  at 6 per cent, and Australia at 3 per cent.

Australia overtook Chile in 2017–18.

Germany is the world’s biggest imported wine market and fourth biggest wine market overall.

READ: Artificial Intelligence helps accurately map Australia’s 65 wine regions

It is Australia’s fifth largest export destination by volume and eighth by value.

The lower value ranking is principally due to the way in which wine is shipped from Australia to Germany – 85 per cent is shipped in bulk containers to be packaged in-market.

There were 20 bulk wine exporters and 105 bottled wine exporters to Germany in 2017–18.

The growth in the last 12 months has come through increased bulk shipments, up 11 per cent to 34 million litres, while bottled exports declined by 9 per cent to 6 million litres.

Driving the growth in bottled exports at $5 or more was Riesling and Chardonnay, which more than offset declines in Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

While Germany is a stable and mature market, new opportunities are being created in the German wine market by increasing involvement and greater consumer openness to experiment with new and different styles of wine.

The adult population in Germany in 2017 totalled 66.2 million people.

According to Wine Intelligence, of these, 44.2m drink wine at least once a year, 27.5m drink at least once a month and 19.5m drink wine weekly.

The International Wine and Spirit Record (IWSR), reported that in 2017 there were 276 million cases of wine sold in Germany, of which 51 per cent were imported wines.

The German market is price conscious with 71 per cent of still wine sales at the low-end of the market at less than $5 per bottle.

Premium to prestige wine sales, at $12 per bottle and above, represent 2.5 per cent of the still wine sales.

In 2017, there were declines at the bottom and top-end of the market.

Sales below $5 per bottle declined by 0.3 per cent, while sales above $24 per bottle fell by 1.9 per cent.

There was growth at the mid-range and premium price segments. Sales between about $5 and about $24 per bottle increased by 0.5 per cent.

The price profile of the German market reflects where Germans buy their wines.

Wine Intelligence reports that 58 per cent of regular wine drinkers purchased wine in a supermarket such as Rewe or Edeka, 45 per cent in a discounter such as Aldi or Lidl, and 43 per cent in a hyper-market such as Kaufland and Marktkauf.

In comparison, 32 per cent purchased wine from a specialist wine store.

Still red wine is the biggest category in the German market just ahead of still white wine.

However, while red wine sales declined by 1 per cent, white wine sales increased by 1 per cent.

Champagne is the fastest growing category with sales up 2.7 per cent, but it has only a 0.4 per cent share of the market.

But, other sparkling wine is the third biggest category in the German market, with a large proportion taken up by the locally made Sekt.

Wine Intelligence research indicates there has been a significant increase in regular wine drinkers in Germany who ‘enjoy trying new and different styles of wine’, particularly among younger consumers.

A growing number of German consumers think their choice of wine is an important decision, suggesting that they are becoming more involved with wine.

 

 

Grapegrowers can tackle grapevine disease with help of app

Grapevine trunk disease is estimated to cost the Australian wine sector millions of dollars in lost production each year, but now grapegrowers have a new tool to better manage its impact.

The University of Adelaide and Wine Australia have joined forces with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) to update the Grape Assess app – released in June 2018.

The latest research on grapevine trunk disease adds to the existing range of grapevine disease and disorder evaluations within the app.

Eileen Scott, professor of plant pathology at the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, said the updated app will simplify the assessment and management of grapevine trunk disease.

READ: Five new directors appointed to Wine Australia board

“The Grape Assess update builds on the strength of the app’s existing assessment of powdery mildew and other conditions,” said Scott.

“The update has embedded the latest grapevine trunk disease research in a convenient tool that will help grapegrowers to make an assessment in the vineyard and then email the information, which includes GPS coordinates, to themselves to better target management of the disease,” she said.

Grapevine trunk diseases, caused by fungal infections, are becoming increasingly prevalent in Australian vineyards.

One of the more commonly known grapevine trunk diseases is eutypa dieback, which occurs worldwide, particularly in wine regions that exceed an annual rainfall of 350mm.

All major grapevine varieties grown in Australia are susceptible to eutypa infection.

Botryosphaeria dieback, another common trunk disease, is more prevalent in warmer drier regions. Both diseases result in loss of productive canopy.

Wine Australia general manager of research, development and extension, Dr Liz Waters, said the update to the app was undertaken in collaboration with grapegrowers and researchers to strengthen its existing application.

“We are delighted with the update to Grape Assess and to see our research community continue to lead the way globally in developing management tools for grapevine trunk disease,” said Waters.

“The update is also very timely as growers are moving into the perfect conditions for assessment, which should be done during spring when the grapevine shoots are between 30–70cm long and before the canopy gets too big and hides symptoms,” she said.

Working with grapegrowers and advisors – including Warren Burgess from Langhorne Creek, Joe Siebert from DJ’s Grower Services and Dr Mark Sosnowski from SARDI, the update will help determine the loss of productive canopy due to the grapevine trunk diseases eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback.

Extra fields have been added to Grape Assess to estimate yield impact and reference images for canopy loss have been included.

Released in June 2018, Grape Assess also facilitates assessment of multiple grapevine diseases and disorders including bunch rot, downy mildew, insect damage, sunburn and powdery mildew.

Grape Assess can be freely downloaded from Android and Apple app stores.

Five new directors appointed to Wine Australia board

The five new directors to the Wine Australia board bring a variety of skills including experience in fisheries, livestock and viticulture.

The board will lead the industry with investments in research and development including a $50 million export and regional wine support package.

The new directors were appointed by the Australian minister for agriculture and water resources David Littleproud in late-September.

“The new directors have invaluable experience which will make sure our world class wine industry is a world leader,” said Littleproud.

READ: Artificial Intelligence helps accurately map Australia’s 65 wine regions

The new directors and re-appointments are:

  • Dr Michele Allan, chair of Meat and Livestock Australia and Apple and Pear Australia, non-executive director of Grain Growers and Innovation and Science Australia and chancellor at Charles Sturt University
  • Catherine Cooper, deputy chair of Australian Fisheries Management Authority, deputy chair of the Australian Egg Corporation and director of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr Brian Croser, a winemaker and director of Tapanappa Wines has been reappointed
  • Professor Peter Hoj, vice-chancellor and president of the University of Queensland
  • Cath Oates, owne and operator of Oates Ends and Cath Oates Wine Consulting
  • Mary Retallack, the managing director of Retallack Viticulture has been reappointed
  • Mitchell Taylor, managing director and winemaker at Taylors Wines

Littleproud said the directors will be working hard to increase returns to Australian wine producers by growing local and overseas markets and upholding the industry’s reputation.

The Australian wine industry has set itself an ambitious target to boost wine exports to $3.5 billion and attract 40,000 extra international tourists to our wine regions over three years, he said.

“I’m confident this new board has what it takes to achieve the industry’s goals and will use the research funds available to do the job,” said Littleproud.

The $50m export and regional wine support package comprises four programs which are focused on international marketing campaigns, wine export grants, capability development workshops, state-based and competitive grants, and development of a brand strategy for the cider industry.

Research aims to help grapegrowers deal with climate change challenges

A research team from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) is using climate science to provide the Australian grape and wine community with information on dealing with climate change.

The team has provided tools and practical management options to help the industry face the challenges of short-term climate cycles and long-term climate change.

Led by Dr Rebecca Harris, the project employs a multi-disciplinary approach to integrate climate science, species distribution modelling and viticultural expertise.

Dr Tom Remenyi, a member of the UTAS project, said inter-annual climate variability has always posed a challenge to the wine sector. 

READ: Australia’s winegrape crush in 2018 just above long term average 

“Spring frost, heatwaves at flowering or just prior to harvest and bushfires can inflict large financial losses,” he said.

The incidence of such events was projected to increase with ongoing climate change, said Remenyi.

Discussions with grapegrowers and winemakers had highlighted the need for fine-scale regional projections across Australia and forecasts of inter-annual and decadal climate variability driven by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The team hopes to identify how the weather risks for all wine regions may change into the future across a range of time-scales.

The sector is already highly adaptive and innovative, driven largely by an existing climate that is highly variable, said Remenyi.

These tools aim to help grapegrowers and winemakers choose adaptive strategies with the best long-term returns, he said. 

The UTAS project aims to provide both short-term predictions and long-term projections of climate across Australia, with a focus on regional climate indices tailored for the grape and wine community. 

The goal includes identifying weather risks, particularly important to grapegrowing within different wine regions.

The project also aims to develop region-specific indices of ‘heatwave’ and variety-specific indices of heat accumulation.

The team has also produced a tool that allows the rapid comparison of any region now, with any other region globally into the future. 

This allows users to identify what the vineyard conditions are going to be similar to into the future.

Remenyi said improved knowledge of conditions expected over the next decades could help growers and winemakers position themselves to take advantage of new opportunities and markets.

Artificial Intelligence helps accurately map Australia’s 65 wine regions

The vineyards in Australia’s 65 wine regions will soon be accurately mapped using high-resolution satellite images and advanced machine learning in a national census of Australia’s winegrape area.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said the national scan is an exciting opportunity as it will allow Australia for the first time to have a scalable and repeatable method to measure vineyard area.

“Through the investment, the maps will also be delivered in an online interface that will be able to be accessed by Australia’s grape-growers,” he said.

By mid-2019, Consilium Technology’s world leading agricultural artificial intelligence software Geospatial Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture (GAIA) will deliver a row-by-row census of all of Australia’s vineyards using high-resolution satellite images and advanced machine learning.

READ: Australia’s winegrape crush in 2018 just above long-term average

The scan will be repeated for two years, producing maps for three consecutive vintages.

Wine Australia’s agreement with Consilium Technology follows a successful pilot undertaken earlier in 2018, which returned an outstanding accuracy of more than 90 per cent for scans of the two trial regions Margaret River and Tasmania.

“GAIA’s pilot of Margaret River and Tasmania demonstrated the technology can deliver accurate, timely and cost-effective information about Australia’s vineyards and it is exciting that its capabilities will continue to grow as it learns from the information it receives. We are extremely pleased with the results,” said Clark.

GAIA’s first test was conducted in Margaret River where vineyard locations were already known, and a quantitative analysis of accuracy performed on the results.

A second demonstration was then run using the trained algorithm from the previous analysis to demonstrate its learning capability, which showed a 5 per cent improvement on the previous scan.

Tasmania provided GAIA with an unknown space to work with and the added complication for the software of other crops that have a very similar appearance to vineyards.

“GAIA stood up to the challenge and we’re excited to see how it performs against similar obstacles in other wine regions,” said Clark.

The first national scan will be delivered in mid-2019 and will include the geolocation of every vineyard block in Australia, the area of vineyards for each geographical indication and the length of the vineyard rows in each region.

It is anticipated that the information from the scan will also be beneficial to Australia’s biosecurity activities and wine label integrity.

To improve the quality of the reporting, grape-growers will be asked to identify the varieties of the vineyard plots from the scan.