Wine Australia has released its new five-year Strategic Plan 2020–25 and its Annual Operational Plan 2020–21.
“Our plans detail where we will invest for the sector’s success, for each of the country’s 65 wine regions and for all grape and wine business, whatever their size. They have been developed to address the current dynamic environment with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as new and emerging challenges,” says Cath Oates, acting chair of Wine Australia.
Cath says they asked their stakeholders – grapegrowers, wine producers, exporters, state and regional associations, researchers and wine sector suppliers – what they should focus on and their priorities are reflected in the five strategies:
- Strategy 1: Market Australian wine.
- Strategy 2: Protect the reputation of Australian wine.
- Strategy 3: Enhance grape and wine excellence.
- Strategy 4: Grow sustainable environments.
- Strategy 5: Build business sustainability, excellence and leadership.
“We worked closely with Australian Grape & Wine as it developed its new 30-year Vision 2050, which was launched last week,” Cath says.
“Our plan sets out what Wine Australia will deliver to contribute to Vision 2050 and its goal of profitable, resilient and sustainable winegrape and wine businesses.
“The plan is designed to help respond to challenges and opportunities identified in Vision 2050, so we have a strong emphasis on growing markets, grape and wine excellence, sustainability, biosecurity and mitigating the effects of climate change.
“We have a heightened focus on the adoption of research outcomes. We need more growers and producers to take up research and development findings, and we need to increase the speed of uptake. Following an in-depth review of extension and adoption, we have established adoption as our fifth strategy.
“This means that we will be investing proportionally less in R&D projects. There are also changes in marketing, where we will increase our social media and digital engagement and deliver more retailer and distributor promotions.”
Over the next five years, Wine Australia will invest more than $200 million in R&D, marketing, regulation and adoption. This money comes from the sector levies – growers pay the grape research levy, wine producers pay the wine grape levy and exporters pay the wine export charge – and matching R&D funding from the Australian Government.
Annual Operational Plan
The Annual Operational Plan 2020-21 details where Wine Australia will invest $65.3 million in the first year of the new Strategic Plan and the final year of in-market activities funded by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
“Over the next 12 months, we understand that the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to create challenges for the grape and wine sector,” Cath says.
“So that we can continue to provide our key services to the sector, we have adapted and changed how we promote and market wine, how we protect the reputation of Australian wine, how our researchers conduct their projects and how we help the sector adopt research outcomes.
“As a business, we have reduced our operational costs, moved to more cost-effective delivery of activities and are drawing down on the reserves saved for a rainy day to maximise our investments in the sector’s priorities.
“In the next year, we will continue to work closely with Australian Grape & Wine and our stakeholder groups to ensure that our activities remain aligned with sector objectives.
“By leveraging the work of our research partners, we will help our sector be sustainable and for Australian wine to be known internationally for stewardship as well as quality.”
Annual Operational Plan highlights
Strategy 1: Market Australian wine
To help grow the profitability of the sector, Wine Australia’s marketing activities aim to
- Continually improve the perception of the quality of Australian wine,
- Create a platform for the commercial success of Australian brand owners, and
- Facilitate in-market support and engagement for brand owners.
Wine Australia’s role is to help Australian winemakers and brand owners to put their best foot forward to win a greater share of the global alcohol beverage budget. Australian exporters from all wine regions want to capture a greater market share in target markets at the following price points:
- Mainland China >RMB200 per bottle,
- Canada >C$15 per bottle,
- United Kingdom (UK) >GB£8 per bottle, and
- USA >US$11 per bottle.
Through the Australian Wine Made Our Way brand platform and the Australian Wine Discovered education platform, two enduring benefits of the Export and Regional Wine Support Package ($50m Package), Wine Australia will drive perception change, particularly in the social media, digital and retail channels.
This year, Wine Australia’s emphasis is moving from face-to-face promotional channels to social media, digital and retail channels. It will still delivery attention-grabbing events like the China Roadshow and China Awards, but it is increasing online engagement with the trade, media, educators and consumers.
Strategy 2: Protecting the reputation of Australian wine
In 2020-21, the organisation will build on the successful delivery of the Wine Australia Licensing and Approval System (WALAS) to continue streamlining the export approval process.
It will continue helping exporters through Export Market Guides and by helping producers to comply with labelling and compositional requirements. Wine Australia will also monitor and report on producers’ compliance, including through the inspection of records kept under the Label Integrity Program, so that their customers can trust the integrity of Australian wine.
Through $50m Package funding, Wine Australia will develop and deliver the Australian wine label intellectual property directory to prevent copycat exports.
To support wine producers, Wine Australia will investigate new methods of wine traceability and ways to decrease record-keeping red tape. Wine Australia will work closely with the Australian Government and Australian Grape & Wine to enhance market access by to identifying and managing technical trade barriers and providing the technical information to inform negotiations.
Strategy 3: Enhance grape and wine excellence
With Wine Australia’s focus firmly on improving grape and wine quality and making the wines people want to drink, it will continue the long-term investments to identify and breed enhanced or new grapevine varieties, clones and rootstocks that suit Australia’s environment and consumer tastes. Wine Australia will continue to build knowledge and encourage the objective measures of grape quality to improve pricing transparency and equity and support continuous improvement by growers. It will also progress the establishment of a national germplasm collection.
Other work will focus on increasing viticultural efficiency and sustainability by developing, testing and commercialising new vineyard technologies and establishing AgTech demonstration farms.
In winemaking, the focus will be on increasing winery efficiency.
Strategy 4: Growing sustainable environments
Wine Australia will support the sector’s ambitious environmental goals in Vision 2050 by undertaking the research and benchmarking needed for the sector to establish carbon emissions and waste production targets. It will also continue to provide the sector with the information it needs to manage the challenges of short-term climate cycles and long-term climate change, including that of increased bushfire risk, and it will map out the investments needed to support the sector’s adoption of climate change mitigation strategies.
Wine Australia will also support research that will allow more efficient and effective water use in the vineyard and initiate research that will reduce chemical use in the vineyard. Research to allow the sector to more sustainably manage endemic pests and disease and to be better prepared for exotic pests and disease will be continued. And to help demonstrate its sustainability credentials, it will actively support the sector’s Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program.
Strategy 5: Build business sustainability, excellence and leadership
Accelerating adoption and allowing growers and makers to benefit from the outcomes of research was a clear message from Wine Australia’s stakeholder consultation. In 2020-21, Wine Australia will focus on facilitating the adoption of existing knowledge to improve winegrape growing, winemaking, exporting and running a wine business.
Wine Australia will develop a national extension and adoption strategy and use it to guide future planning, adopting innovative approaches to behaviour and practice change. This will include delivering the National Online Wine Tourism Platform and the Growing Wine Tourism and Growing Wine Exports capacity-building programs, and encouraging wine businesses to use Australian Wine Made Our Way resources.
Wine Australia will continue to encourage evidence-based and data-driven decision making by collecting, analysing and disseminating global wine sector intelligence and accurate and timely supply and demand information.
Wine Australia will also help develop the leaders of tomorrow – and build the skills of the leaders of today – through regional governance and leadership programs and by investing in the sector’s research capability by supporting postgraduate students and early career researchers.
Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan 2020–25 and Wine Australia’s Annual Operational Plan 2020–21 can be downloaded at: wineaustralia.com/about-us/strategy-and-planning.