Ja­pan set to en­joy good Aussie drop

Wine tar­iff cut set to in­crease ex­port trade

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - Front Page - BY JODIE FLEM­ING jflem­ing@ ne­news.com.au

OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES have opened up for lo­cal winer­ies in North East Vic­to­ria to en­ter into the lu­cra­tive Ja­panese wine mar­ket af­ter a part­ner­ship agree­ment was signed be­tween Aus­tralia and Ja­pan.

The Ja­pan Aus­tralia Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment (JAEPA) has now been signed by the Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott.

The wine mar­ket is only just de­vel­op­ing in Ja­pan and with the phase out of tar­iffs for Aus­tralian wine over the next seven years it is ex­pected that the Ja­panese will soon be able to get more of a taste of what Aus­tralia has to of­fer.

The agree­ment is ex­pected to re­open doors by pro­vid­ing valu­able pref­er­en­tial ac­cess for Aus­tralia’s ex­ports with the elim­i­na­tion of the 15 per cent im­port tar­iff which now in­cludes bot­tled, sparkling and bulk wine.

Wine­mak­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralia Strat­egy & In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs gen­eral man­ager Tony Batta­g­lene said the agree­ment is about de­vel­op­ing ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties and giv­ing wine a “step up” in the evolv­ing Ja­panese mar­ket.

“Cur­rently our sixth largest mar­ket by value and vol­ume, wine con­sump­tion there is grow­ing rapidly as the younger gen­er­a­tion moves away from tra­di­tional prod­ucts to wines.

“We are ex­pect­ing to see strong growth in sparkling and still grape wines, with tar­geted sales of mid­dle-to-pre­mium Aus­tralian wine brands.

“Just look at our ma­jor com­peti­tors such as Chile, which en­joyed sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in mar­ket share in Ja­pan af­ter com­ple­tion of its Free Trade Agree­ment in 2007.

“Aus­tralia now has the op­por­tu­nity to fol­low suit,” Mr Batta­g­lene said.

He added that the agree­ment builds on the pos­i­tives from the Aus­tralia-Korea Free Trade Agree­ment and the in­dus­try looks for­ward to on­go­ing dis­cus­sions to open up fur­ther trade pos­si­bil­i­ties in the fu­ture in­clud­ing China.

One of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing fam­ily-owned wine com­pa­nies, Brown Broth­ers has been ex­port­ing to Ja­pan for close to 30 years and was one of the first Aus­tralian com­pa­nies to do so.

Brown Broth­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Roland Wahlquist said that the lift in tar­iffs will help Aus­tralian winer­ies in­crease the per­cent­age of wine they ex­port to Ja­pan – a coun­try that has mainly con­sumed tra­di­tional styles of red wine.

“It has been slow go­ing set­ting up a part­ner­ship be­cause Ja­pan does not have a wine cul­ture.

“We are still quite a small player in Ja­pan with only about four per cent of wine sold in Ja­pan is from Aus­tralia.

“Chile which has had a free trade agree­ment with Ja­pan for quite a while has about 14 per cent of the mar­ket, so we are hop­ing, in time, Aus­tralia will see a lot more sell­ing of wine not only into Ja­pan, but other Asian coun­tries,” Mr Wahlquist said.

Brown Broth­ers is quite well known in many of the Asian coun­tries, with 15 per cent of its mar­ket share ex­ported to Sin­ga­pore, China, Korea, Tai­wan and Malaysia.

All Saints Es­tate chief ex­ec­u­tive Eliza Brown said that although All Saints is yet to find a suit­able dis­trib­u­tor in Ja­pan, it is a very ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for those in the wine in­dus­try in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing part­ner­ships within the Ja­panese mar­ket.

“The agree­ment will help the whole of the wine in­dus­try by open­ing up new ex­port mar­kets.

“The big­gest hur­dle is to find ap­pro­pri­ate part­ners and prod­ucts that are suit­able to go into that mar­ket.

“Ja­pan is quite a so­phis­ti­cated mar­ket for wine,” Ms Brown said.

“They re­ally un­der­stand fla­vors and tastes, so you re­ally have to find a part­ner that is ap­pro­pri­ate for your prod­uct.

“You re­ally need to find some­one with com­mon ground, but Ja­pan is def­i­nitely on our hit list,” she said.

All Saints Es­tate cur­rently ex­ports to China and has been do­ing so suc­cess­fully for the past 12 months.

Wines from the North East re­gion of Vic­to­ria and south­ern New South Wales are quickly gain­ing ac­co­lades around the world, with many Ruther­glen winer­ies hav­ing re­cently tak­ing home awards from the pres­ti­gious In­ter­na­tional Wine Chal­lenge (IWC) held in Lon­don.

The IWC, now in its 31st year, is known as the world’s finest and most metic­u­lously judged wine com­pe­ti­tion which as­sesses ev­ery wine blend and judges each for its faith­ful­ness to style, re­gion and vin­tage.

Through­out the rig­or­ous judg­ing pro­cesses, each medal win­ning wine is tasted on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions by at least 10 dif­fer­ent judges and awards in­clude medals (Tro­phy, Gold sil­ver, Bronze) and com­mended and Great Value awards.

This year, tro­phies and medals were won by many Ruther­glen winer­ies, mainly for their for­ti­fied va­ri­eties, in­clud­ing wines from Mor­ris Wines, Stan­ton & Killeen Wines, All Saints Es­tate and Camp­bells Wines.

“We have won quite a few medals over the past three years which means a lot, par­tic­u­larly to our Lon­don dis­trib­u­tor,” Ms Brown said.

“The IWC is highly re­garded in­ter­na­tion­ally and the fact that many of these awards are com­ing from the same re­gion makes more of a punchy state­ment.

“We are a rel­a­tively tiny re­gion get­ting quite a lot of recog­ni­tion.

“We all work so hard and the wines we are sub­mit­ting are good so it is great to win and we al­ways hope to win,” she said.

These award - win­ning wine­mak­ers are all part of the Wine­mak­ers of Ruther­glen mem­ber­ship-based as­so­ci­a­tion that formed in 1992.

There are now 20 winer­ies in­volved with the as­so­ci­a­tion’s prime fo­cus be­ing the pro­mo­tion of the winer­ies and their prod­ucts through co-op­er­a­tive mar­ket­ing.

The Wine­mak­ers have de­vel­oped a num­ber of events within the re­gion to pro­mote tourism and wine sales.

These in­clude the Tastes of Ruther­glen and Ruther­glen Win­ery Walk­a­bout.

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