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17/08/2006

Australian wine industry to face greater challenges

The Institute of Chartered Accountants is holding its annual Business of Wine Conference in Melbourne (19 October) and Adelaide (20 October). Each conference will present industry renowned speakers over nine concurrent sessions, providing Australian grape growers, the opportunity to learn more about industry developments and strategies to help overcome current economic difficulties and build the wine business for the future.

Australia is the fourth largest wine exporter — behind France, Italy and Spain and is still in front of rivals such as Chile, Argentina and South Africa. Despite producing 4 per cent of the world’s wines, experts say that with a domestic glut of cheap grapes, cheap wines and a stronger overseas market, the Australian wine industry is hurting and are now preferring to leave their grapes on the vine because prices don’t cover the cost of harvesting.

As the average price for Australian wine exports continues to decline, Australian growers are now expected to upscale and improve their mass marketing campaigns, focusing more on the market segments and consumer demand.

Lawrie Stanford from the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, Di Davidson of Viticultural Consulting Services and Dr Steve Goodman, Senior Lecturer at Adelaide Graduate School of Business are among other leading professionals who will discuss issues surrounding the current challenges facing the wine industry. The Business of Wine Conference will focus on:

• revenue and profitability of wine grape vineyards • accurate and realistic budgeting, cost management, labour management • supply-demand balances, which will underpin the Australian wine sector's fortunes over the next five years? • current and forecast pressures • business expansion strategies • export business development strategy • targeting market segments based on where they actually exist rather than traditional 'mythical' means • assisting growers in matching production with market orientation to result in more effective and efficient marketing.

The conference will be held in Melbourne on 19 October and Adelaide on 20 October. To register contact (03) 9641 7400 for Victoria or (08) 8113 5507 for South Australia, or register at www.icaa.org.au/training/wine

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