Winery numbers down, but exports booming
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.