By Andy Young
The Small Winemaker Production and Sales Survey 2016 has been published by Wine Australia and it shows strong growth for Australia’s small winemaking businesses.
According to the survey, small winemakers sold an estimated $1bn of wine in 2016, 88 per cent of which was sold on the domestic market.
While cellar doors are becoming increasingly important for small winemakers with 29 per cent of income, retailers remain the single most important channel for domestic sales, accounting for 47 per cent of income.
The survey also highlighted that over the last 12 months Australia’s small winemaking businesses had an average production growth of seven per cent, with the highest average growth in wineries that produce 70,001–170,000 litres (8000–20,000 cases), up 11 per cent.
The overall average revenue growth was 12 per cent, with wineries that produce 35,001–70,000 litres (approximately 4000–8000 cases) seeing the highest average revenue growth (up 16 per cent).
Only wineries with an estimated production of 350,000 litres or less (40,000 cases) were included in the survey.
Food and wine tourism is also on the rise, and many small wineries are now attracting consumers to their region via on-site restaurants, cafés, tours and boutique accommodation, in addition to the traditional cellar door.
Garry Sweeney, owner of Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, said: "I’ve definitely seen a rise and increased diversity in visitors from interstate and overseas in the past year. I believe it’s important to offer visitors more than just pouring wine, so you give them a ‘sense of place’ to associate with the wine."