Tony Battaglene, chief executive of Australian Grape & Wine, told Landline last weekend that up to one-third of Australian wineries could go broke.
“We have 2,600 wineries, so 30 percent of that. We could lose anything up to 700 or 800. It’s that serious.”
Tony has plucked that figure from thin air, the thinking behind it as robust as a pool noodle.
Wineries are hurting enough without the acronym meant to be supporting them, piling on more hurt and misery in public.
Let others write the grubby headlines.
Too late. One well-known winery quoted the ‘one-third’ figure on Facebook to get wine sales.
Battaglene also told Landline, “It could be the end of the (wine) distribution network as we know it.” Loose. What do distributors think? Email [email protected].
So where do we go for some calm thought leadership and business acumen? Warren Randall, the nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Wazza suggests changing our name to The Week That Wazz given his mentions. He hasn’t put a foot wrong since walking into Seppeltsfield in 2009 and of course all the locals in the village of the same name love Oscar like a newborn child. Cough.
Warren’s office is in Westpac House which is one of our biggest skyscrapers and it’s not quite as tall as a giraffe.
We’ve been worried about Warren because of his exposure to China.
And those Americans with rona were at Seppeltsfield.
“China hasn’t missed a beat for us,” he says.
“It’s the land of milk and honey for the Australian wine industry.”
What does he think of rona?
“It’s given me time for deep thought about our strategy. Our vision is now crystal clear.”
He doesn’t think 800 wineries will die.
“That’s a pessimistic figure,” he says.
“There will be deep bruising, but the Australian wine industry is more resilient than that.”
Warren carries the banner for the 2/43 Battalion on Anzac Day to honour his dad Cyril, a Rat of Tobruk who would have turned 99 yesterday. But the march is off.
Warren says he’ll get up at 4am for his tribute.
His advice for wineries? “We all know the risks of running a business in agriculture and this is another check for participants. We need to be clear: this is just a period of time. We need to be strong and bunker down and tough it out. Whatever you have to do to survive, you do it. It’s Anzac Day tomorrow and so many Australians did exactly what I just said. We need to go back to some of the values our ex-servicemen had and try and relive those values during this period.”
We hope the pubs open soon and that the 800 wineries written off by the doomsayers live to fight another day. No one would love that more than the Diggers.
• This is an edited version of our Friday newsletter The Week That Was. Sign up for free here.