The future of Australian wine

As it has for everyone, it’s been a tough year for Australia’s wine industry. Bushfires damaged many vineyards, making for a much smaller harvest than usual. Travel restrictions have kept visitors from wineries, taking away another source of income. Thinking long-term, Australian Grape & Wine—in conjunction with Wine Australia—released Vision 2050, a plan to shake off these setbacks and set the industry on a path for sustained success over the next 30 years. There are five pillars to the plan, with guiding principles and strategies designed to carry Australian wine out of hard times and into homes all over the world.

Sustained Growth in Value

Vision 2050’s first pillar seeks 3% compound annual growth in what has become a $15 billion industry. This would push to the sector value to over $100 billion including associated tourism. To accomplish that, the plan calls for continued promotion of Australian wines across all price points and regulatory standards that protect intellectual property and ensure the quality of wines put out into the market. Other strategies are to deepen partnerships with food and tourism, making wine an essential part of the Australian experience, and diversifying market targets to open new channels for domestic sales. Strides in the areas will drive profitability.

Innovative Culture

To make Australia stand out from other top wine regions in the world, Vision 2050 aims to drive excellence from grape to consumer through innovation. Whereas France and Italy are bound by hundreds of years of tradition, Australia is more free to experiment and revolutionise viticulture with new technology. New products such as biodynamic health-focused wines and grape-based cosmetics will carve out new niches with new customers. More efficient production in vineyards and innovative packaging on the consumer end will keep Aussie wine in stores and at the front of buyers’ minds. This will require a lot of research and development funding to make Australian education and research institutions No 1 in the world.

Environmental Custodian & Cultural Touchstone

Sustainability is the name of the game going forward, and industries that are stewards of the environment will enjoy good standing in public opinion. An Australian wine industry that is zero-waste and contributes nett-zero emissions and makes efficient use of precious resources such as water and energy can be a cornerstone of a greener economy. As climate change continues to affect grape phenology and harvest times, the industry will need to adapt for successful viticulture in a new landscape. Culturally, Vision 2050 seeks to promote wine “as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle, when consumed in moderation, supported by a food and wine culture” and participate in campaigns against alcohol abuse. The industry should also give back to the rural and regional areas where the vineyards are located, becoming integral to the community fabric.

Employment Sector of Choice

Hiring quality employees is crucial to the success of any industry. By offering good pay and benefits, flexible working conditions, and a path to career success, wine could be the most sought-after industry in the regions it operates. With opportunities for manual laborers, engineers, data scientists, and finance experts alike, wine can turn around the recruiting and retention problems it has suffered in recent years. If the wine industry is seen as innovative and sustainable, that will attract young entrepreneurs looking to make their marks in the business world.

A Diverse Sector, Unified

There are many terroirs producing many varietals in Australia. They’re collectively stronger if the entire industry bands together in pursuit of excellence. Collectively, disparate vineyards in different states and regions can unite under common governance for funding and lobbying purposes. If every part of the sector is strong, the entire industry can continue to stake out a reputation as world-class. Industry-wide representation can ensure better access to capital and insurance. “Our targets for 2050 are ambitious, but Vision 2050 provides the road map to achieve them, through innovation, hard work and a great product,” Australian Grape & Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said. “We can grow value at all price points across the value chain and drive prosperity in our sector and across regional Australia.”