Australian wine better placed now than for more than a decade

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Wine Australia says the country’s wine industry has reached historically high production levels matched by sales growth and reasonable inventory levels.

The ‘Australian wine: production, sales and inventory 2016-17’ report noted that 2017 vintages represented the second year of historically high production with a grape crush of 1.98 million tonnes, up eight per cent over 2016. Wine production increased by five per cent to 1.37 billion litres, driven by an increase in red-wine production (up 15 per cent to 793 million litres), while white-wine production declined (by five per cent to 576 million litres).

Wine sales grew strongly in 2016-17 as increases in the domestic and export markets led to a combined rise in sales value of $393 million (up eight per cent) to more than $5.6 billion. Volume increased by 59 million litres (just under seven million cases) to 1.3 billion litres (142 million cases).

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark says the large Australian vintage was well timed, with global production in 2017 estimated to be the lowest since 1961 at 24.6 billion litres, with Australia the only major wine-producing country to have enjoyed an above-average harvest.

“Australia is well placed to take advantage of the opportunity, with stocks at reasonably high levels and well-established routes to market in the four largest wine markets in the world: the US, UK, China and Germany,” he said.

“The additional tariff cuts on Australian bottled wine into China from January 1, 2018 will further increase Australia’s competitiveness in the world’s fastest growing major wine market, while ongoing tariff cuts through the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement will also improve Australia’s competitiveness in Japan, the second biggest wine market in Asia behind China.”