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Oversupply that we needed: John Grant

Hardy Wine Company president, John Grant, addressed several hundred members from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the wine industry yesterday in Adelaide for AICD’s first luncheon of the year. The focus for the day, ‘Where to for the Australian wine industry?’ highlighted the grape and wine industry’s trials and successes from 1880 to present day, and looked towards the future of the industry’s export markets.

Grant addressed the delegates saying although the Australian wine industry is in a good long-term shape, the export market has a big problem. With the decline in the export markets from 2002 – 2006 being of major concern and needing attending to, it is largely a result of the “very little negotiation” in export prices due to the country’s oversupply. However, now the oversupply is being “controlled”, Australia needs to stop trying to be known for its low value wines, something Grant said the industry is “gracefully” exiting out of.

“This is the oversupply the Australian wine industry needed,” Grant said. “Mother nature has given us the ‘break’ that we needed and now we need to unite to sell our appellation.

“Instead of trying to be the best at everything, each region needs to be nominated at being world class for one varietal, and that each region’s signature blend will be done better than anywhere else in the world,” Grant said.

“We haven’t missed the boat of appellation yet,” Grant added.

Grant went on to further address that the Australian industry needs to be proactive in its infrastructure and focus more on innovation across the production and marketing processes.

Although grape prices were not discussed intently, Grant noted strong relationships and close co-operation between growers and wineries needs to be strengthened, including the sharing of information.

Grant concluded that China, especially the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is a wonderful opportunity for wineries to develop export potential.



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