$50 million wine plan aims to supercharge China exports, boost wine tourism


The Australian wine industry will target popular Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo as part of a $50 million marketing push plan to lift wine exports and wine tourism.

International tourists will be urged to “take the great Australian wine tour,” and visit popular wine regions under the ambitious $50 million taxpayer-funded plan.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia president Sandy Clark said the package was a “once in a generational opportunity to grow demand for Australian wine”.

“It will benefit all winemakers and provide a lasting platform for profitability throughout the supply chain, and I would like to thank all those who have got behind this initiative. It is now up to us to maximise the opportunity,” he said.

The federal government and industry plan was unveiled on Thursday and aims to lift wine exports to $3.5 billion a year by 2021-22 an increase of 8 per cent.

The industry also hopes to lure an extra 40,000 international tourists to leading wine regions such as the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Yarra Valley in Victoria, and South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

“Australia’s wine industry has enjoyed significant growth in recent years on the back of the Coalition’s market access gains, with our wine exports forecast to exceed 800 million litres and $2.5 billion in 2017–18,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said at the launch of the plan, at the Penfolds Magill Estate in South Australia.

The program is part of the reforms to the Wine Equalisation Tax.

Highlights include: an eight-fold increase in marketing campaign spending to boost wine sales in China and the United States; a wine exports grants scheme for new and existing exporters to China and the US; grants to help develop wine tourism experiences that will attract international tourists; and a focus on cider businesses to help them boost exports.

The chief executive of Australian Vignerons, Andrew Weeks, said the plan was expected to deliver returns far above its $50 million cost.

“It offers a unique opportunity at a perfect time when there’s been some really positive results in our markets from a combination of things, including free trade agreements coming into bite, more favourable currency, but also some really promising work done by our generic marketing body as well,” he said.

“Some of those targets may seem ambitious, but why not aim high, why not back ourselves, why not build on the great reputation of Australian wines.”

By Darren Gray
Sydney Morning Herald


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