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4/11/2014

Seminar to fill the gap on options and opportunities for grapegrowers

It's been a big year for industry information and analysis and a seminar organised by Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA), to be held in Adelaide next week, thinks it has plugged a gap in the information made available so far.

Lawrie Stanford, WGGA executive director says it will be a positive forum offering "real options for growers and alternatives to the private-brand dominated messages presented by other events this year”.

The seminar will tap into the strong interest for knowledge about options and opportunities in the industry, in what is likely to be another year of low profitability in 2015. 

Vic Patrick, WGGA chairman, says the seminar will give growers real insights and practical ideas to enable their businesses to "survive the present and innovate for the future", which is the name of the seminar.

With enough quality thinking on the topic, the gap between supply and demand could be eaten away by improving the opportunity for non-privately branded wine, particularly for cooler-style wines which in turn, will improve prospects for warm inland products, according to the wine body.

Shane Tremble from Woolworths Liquor Group will be one of the speakers, reporting on new direct route-to-market opportunities for grapegrowers, important insights into how the retail sector works and the latest consumer trends. 

A large global opportunity in bulk wine trade has caught WGGA’s attention and Stanford notes that “we have shown in the numbers that lower-end wine from a high-cost producing nation like Australia, will struggle to make profit in this trade but who knows what innovation could do? After all, innovation is everything we haven’t yet thought of". 

At the seminar, recently appointed chair of the Australian Wine Research Institute, Louisa Rose will also share her ideas on what innovation looks like and will encourage growers and industry institutions to think outside the square.

The third theme of the seminar is the importance of adapting business models to existing circumstances. 

“The most transformative decisions in dealing with the gap between supply and demand will be made at the level of individual businesses," Stanford noted.

"Each business must be clear about the market they target and structure their business model appropriately.” 

With a wealth of experience in the latter, Jeff McDonald from Collaborative Farming Australia will present the options to restructure for profit including the possibility of achieving scale through collaborative farming.

The final speaker, Rob Hunt, agricultural consultant and former CEO of Boar’s Rock, will discuss the hot topic of market-based winegrape price determination.

This taps into a compelling majority interest, among both buyers and sellers of winegrapes, for improved assessments of quality in the industry that was revealed in a 2012 survey. 

Improved quality is fully acknowledged to be the best chance the Australian industry has to be more competitive in overseas markets.

A Q&A session at the end of the seminar will also be held to raise further discussions after the thought-provoking presentations.

The seminar is free and media representatives are welcome to attend.

To find out more, visit www.wgga.com.au.

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