Win­ery num­bers down, but ex­ports boom­ing

Isis Town and Country - - Life - peter.chapman@apn.com.au

THE lat­est an­nual Aus­tralian and New Zealand Wine In­dus­try Direc­tory (WID) has re­vealed an in­dus­try un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure and poised for a fur­ther down­turn in the num­ber of wine pro­duc­ers.

The 34th edi­tion shows the num­ber of wine pro­duc­ers de­creased for the se­cond con­sec­u­tive year to 2468 in 2016, down by 13 since 2015 and 105 fewer than the all-time peak of 2573 in 2014.

The de­crease was par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent in Queens­land, where num­bers went down from 85 to 79.

There was some good news for the in­dus­try, with ex­ports ris­ing by 7.8% to al­most $2 bil­lion, led in terms of vol­ume by Ac­co­lade Wines, which was boosted sig­nif­i­cantly by its ac­qui­si­tion of Grant Burge Wines.

Trea­sury Wine Es­tate re­mains on top of the list for value of wine ex­ports.

The WID has listed Aus­tralian wine com­pa­nies who com­mer­cially sell wine ev­ery year since 1983, mak­ing it an in­valu­able barom­e­ter of trends, per­son­nel and the over­all health of the in­dus­try.

WID editor El­iz­a­beth Bouzoudis said the num­ber of wine pro­duc­ers was on a down­ward trend af­ter three decades of boom­ing growth, al­though wine­grape in­take in­creased marginally to 1,669,564 tonnes.

“We have to go back to 1987 to find the last time the num­ber of winer­ies de­creased for two con­sec­u­tive years. We are see­ing now the re­sults of low prof­itabil­ity across the in­dus­try, and we be­lieve there will be more ex­its from the list over the next year through clo­sures and merg­ers,” Bouzoudis said.

“While that will mean dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions for many pro­duc­ers, con­sol­i­da­tion of win­ery num­bers will ul­ti­mately lead to a stronger and more prof­itable in­dus­try,” she said.

New Zealand re­mains the lead­ing source of im­ports, sell­ing $340.2 mil­lion in wine to Aus­tralians in the lat­est year, up 1.6% from the pre­vi­ous year.

How­ever, New Zealand is los­ing sig­nif­i­cant share to other coun­tries, es­pe­cially France.

GOOD SEA­SON: Trea­sury Wine Es­tates’ Heemskerk vine­yard in Launce­s­ton ben­e­fited from per­fect con­di­tions.

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