By James Atkinson
Australian winemakers need to be quicker to adapt to changes in consumer buying patterns, says Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) president Tony D'Aloisio.
Addressing this week's WFA conference, D'Aloisio said that over the next two to three years winemakers need to drive profit improvement initiatives with a greater sense of urgency.
"A good example where we have not done well is NZ Sav Blanc," he said.
"In the last financial year, in one report I have seen, total white wine sales increased two per cent at the retail level but 45 per cent of this increase was NZ Sav Blanc."
"The message may be that we need to be quicker to market with changes to consumer buying patterns."
But D'Aloisio said the industry had already made progress in some profit improvement.
He said wine businesses were increasingly doing proper, hard-headed analysis and moving out of unprofitable ventures.
The private equity acquisition and restructure of Accolade, as well as the spin-off and listing of Treasury Wine Estates and its leadership role in opening new overseas markets for Australian wine were also positives, D'Aloisio said.
He also lauded the marketing efforts of Australia's First Families of Wine and their emphasis on bringing through their next generation.
"Overall I remain optimistic that we will return to profit levels that make this a sustainable job creating industry and an export earner for Australia," he said.
"There is no silver bullet, but the combination of competition and industry working together on industry issues is producing improvements."