By James Wells

The Australian wine industry will be submitting its long-awaited $50 million export and regional stimulus package to the Federal Government over the next month.

Wine Australia General Manager – Marketing, Stuart Barclay told TheShout how the $50 million expenditure plan, announced by the Federal Government in the last Budget, will be structured.

“We are working on a tight timeframe, but it is very much an industry consensus piece as the plan must be submitted to the Assistant Minister for Agriculture Senator Ruston within the next four weeks and then it will go to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after that,” Barclay said.

“So we have a certain number of days left to get this resolved and approved and then we execute. The $50 million was originally spread over four years and now it will be spread over three years because it has taken a year to put the plan together.

“We have a reference group that has met twice so far, and is due to meet again this week. We have a consultant working on the framework of the plan and the plan has to be based on industry consensus as to where the money is spent. The consultant has been conducting a roadshow around the regions seeking engagement and direction regarding what the industry wants. 

“We have 30 different individuals within the reference group and our organisation is working very closely with the Winemakers Federation of Australia and the grapegrowers through Australian Vignerons. It is definitely an industry plan, not a Wine Australia plan.

“The plan is reasonably advanced in terms of tactics – but it has been the strategy in terms of which markets do we target, as it is an export-led plan and there is also wine tourism in there as well. That involves conversations at a national tourism level with partners such as Tourism Australia and the state bodies such as South Australian Tourism, but then it also goes down to the regional level.

“In a directive from the Minister, there is a focus on regional wine tourism – which is a new challenge for us as a body as tourism is not part of our DNA – so we are discussing how we execute that and how do we get engagement from a regional associations and the regional tourism bodies to integrate that wine tourism piece into our strategy and their strategy as well.

“The wine marketing element focuses on what we are currently doing, but this could mean a supercharging of this activity. So potentially we are looking at media spends in USA and China and potentially other markets but the industry needs to help us define what that is. So we are defining within the strategy which markets we need to be working in. We have done a lot of analysis in terms of which markets have more potential than others and which markets are more attack than defend and we have done that work already. But it is going out to the industry to say this is where the opportunities potentially sit, is this aligned to industry strategy in terms of where you want to go? So that’s why are working very closely with the Winemakers Federation and Australian Vignerons to ensure that it is an industry consensus plan.

“We need to keep in mind that over three years, markets move and things change. What we don’t want to do is to set up battle plans that are too rigid, so it has got to be flexible and fall into certain parameters that are acceptable to the rest of the industry.

“Wine Australia will execute the plans, as we have the teams in place and the expertise in the area. It means upscaling where possible, but maintaining the flexibility in the way we operate as the money gets utilized to then downscale efficiently as well.”

Barclay confirmed that a public announcement will be issued by the Winemakers Federation of Australia once the plan is confirmed. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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  1. Whilst targeting the US and China is admirable I hope some funds go to the local market as well.

  2. If we don’t spend at least half of it on the China market we will be wasting the biggest window of opportunity the Industry has ever had!

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