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AWRI downsizes as levy money dries up

By Tuesday 25 June 2024July 25th, 2024One Comment

The Australian Wine Research Institute is downsizing its workforce as the downturn in the industry – including reduced levy revenue – takes its toll.

The AWRI this week commenced a consultation period with staff regarding the downsizing.

“This is occurring in response to an extended period of financial pressure, in part caused by reductions in levy funding due to recent lower vintages,” AWRI managing director Mark Krstic says.

“Over a four-week period we will work through various options before confirming the outcome of the process.

“We remain fully committed to our role as the industry’s own research organisation and are determined to continue supporting the Australian grape and wine community through world-class research, practical solutions and knowledge transfer.”

In an update to stakeholders on Monday the AWRI said it had not been replacing staff who retired or resigned.

This has led to a loss of 24 employees or 16.5 percent of the workforce since 2022.

In a letter to WBM in February Brian Croser and Louise Rose said the AWRI was being bled dry.

“When our overseas colleagues and friends in the wine business become aware of the diminution of the AWRI they will be amazed that the Australian wine community could so damage one of its greatest competitive advantages,” the statement said.

Photograph: AWRI Facebook.

World-renowned AWRI being bled dry

One Comment

  • Brian Croser says:

    This dramatic contraction of the AWRI will leave a stain on the record of the watch that allowed it to happen. It will also reflect poorly on our generation of vignerons unless we demand a reversal of the funding contractions imposed on the AWRI by Wine Australia. To be clear, the small 2023 and 2024 harvests of around 1.3 million tonnes, down from the long term average of 1.7 million tonnes, still raises $20 million in Commonwealth-matched levy funds for RD&E. If the reduction is shared among the RD&E providers there are ample funds to maintain a viable AWRI which requires around $7 million/annum core funding.

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