Trendy tipples take off
AUSTRALIANS are more likely to drink wine if they are female and aged over 65, but this is not the demographic cohort being targeted by the nation’s winemakers.
Domestic wine sales are climbing in value and this is largely being driven by millennials, roughly defined as those born between the 1980s and early 2000s, who are buying wines priced at more than $15 a bottle, according to a report by ANZ bank.
The latest data shows domestic sales climbed 6 per cent to $3.3 billion in 2016-2017, with white wine the drop of choice.
“We are seeing consumers move more towards premium and bespoke products and much of the growth is fuelled by smaller brands, with consumers looking for a story, authenticity and something different,” Winemakers Federation of Australia chief executive Tony Battaglene said.
“This is not a new trend but one that has been coming for some time. It is also paralleled by more moderate consumption patterns where young consumers are drinking less and trading up,” he said.
Mr Battaglene said millennials were driving change not just in wine but across alcoholic beverages, leading to an explosion in craft beer, “natural” wines and aged brown spirits.
Market research firm Euromonitor International says driving consumer choices in 2018 is a thirst for provenance, craftsmanship and wellness.
While this trend has resulted in lower sales of alcohol, it has also steered consumers towards products with a story – and often a higher price.
ANZ agribusiness head Mark Bennett said while the Australian domestic market accounted for only 39 per cent of total wine grape sales by volume, it contributed 59 per cent of the industry’s total revenue with winemakers with a crush of less than 500 tonnes playing a big role.
“While major winemakers receive a great deal of attention, Australia’s smaller winemakers continue to be a vital part of the sector, and form a major part of the premiumisation trend,” Mr Bennett said in his report.