Australian wine industry shrinks

11 March, 2016

The latest annual Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Directory (WID) shows that the number of wine producers have decreased and vineyard has shrunk.

The 34th edition, just released, shows the number of wine producers decreased for the second consecutive year to 2,468 in 2016, down by 13 since 2015 and 105 fewer than the all-time peak of 2,573 in 2014.

The directory shows that wine exports were positive, 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.

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.

She said: “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.

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

The change in the number of wine producers was uneven around the country. Numbers increased slightly in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, but were lower in other states and territories, with Queensland down from 85 to 79, WA down from 366 to 358 and NSW/ACT down from 469 to 463.

Responding to calls from industry bodies in recent years to reduce production, many grape growers have left the industry. This is reflected in the total area of Australia’s vineyards continuing to decline in 2014-15.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that the total vineyard area in Australia, including not-yet-bearing areas, decreased by 9% from 148,507 ha in the previous survey in 2011-12 to 135,178 ha in 2014-15.

Vineyard area has now declined by 22% from the record level of 2006-07, and is lower than any time since 1999, says the bureau.

Producers have said they used 155 varieties to produce straight varietal or blended wines, including new varieties introduced which has become a trend of recent years.  

In addition to Accolade Wines acquisition of Grant Burge Wines, Peter Lehmann Wines sale in late 2014 to Casella Family Brands contributed to industry consolidation. Accolade remains top of the list of Australia’s largest wine companies in terms of winegrape intake.

These significant industry acquisitions will result in changes to the top 20 Australian Wine Companies report to be published in Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker journal in March 2016, also published by Winetitles Media.

The 610-page 2016 directory includes a comprehensive listing of wine producers, grape growers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, universities, research and education facilities, writers, wine publications, wine blogs, organisations, events and wine shows and industry personnel - updated annually.

New in 2016 include: A contract facility can be found with the new contract winemakers’ section. The section includes an Australian Contractors by Geographical Indication (GI) index, which lists contract winemakers by the GI Zones and individual contract winemaker listings by state, which include contact information and winery personnel.

The WID is available from Winetitles Media for A$113.85 in Australia/New Zealand and A$137.00 overseas.

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