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25/11/2014

Wine Victoria welcomes plan to grow wine tourism and exports

Wine Victoria has welcomed the Labor Party’s pre-election announcements to invest in the Victorian wine industry through key policy areas including tourism, international exports, biosecurity and regional job creation.

Jacinta Allan, shadow minister for regional and rural development, yesterday announced a $1 million plan which includes dedicated funds to boost cellar door visits and support wine exports by growing overseas markets.

“We’ll work closely with Wine Victoria to boost jobs, tourism and exports,” Allan said.

Damien Sheehan, Wine Victoria chair, said the commitments are an excellent example of what the association has been recommending to both parties during the state election campaigns.

“As the Victorian wine industry’s peak advocacy body, we have been making the case for the government to partner with industry on more inbound wine-based trade missions and tourism related activities, so these policies are significant for Victorian winemakers and grapegrowers,” Sheehan said.

Tourism is a major economic driver for Victoria, with wine related tourism seeing an economic value of more than $1 billion per year, including 1.5 million annual winery visitors.

The wine industry is an important exporting partner for Victoria and is one of the state’s most valuable food export categories, with exports worth $197m per year and growing.

“Trade missions will help bring domestic and international market influencers directly into our regions, tasting wine poured by our own winemakers, in our own cellar doors,” Sheehan said.

He said inbound trade missions would be a big step towards reversing the wine industry’s profitability issues, as wine producers have faced barriers including oversupply and fierce international competition.

“It is pleasing that Labor has recognised the potential export value of Victoria’s specialty, premium wines, and these policies will help to capitalise on the world’s demand for this quality of wine, which Victoria offers in abundance,” Sheehan said.

Recent reports from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority highlighted that during the 2013–14 financial year premium wine (over $7.50 per litre) grew in many markets generating almost $450m in annual sales, or a quarter of the value of Australia's wine export market.

Sheehan said the coalition government has promised $500,000 for wine specific in-bound trade missions in 2015.

“Whichever party ends up being elected, we look forward to working with the Victorian government to ensure Victoria’s wine regions are on show at their finest,” he said.

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