Wine Industry Statistics - Wine Producers

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Australian Wine Producers

Wine Producers

The latest Wine Industry Directory survey found a decrease in the number of commercial wine companies for the second consecutive year (see table). The number of companies deceased by 13 in the past year, bringing the decline over the past two years to almost 100. However, the number of wineries is still well above historical averages, and within 4% of the peak of 2,573 in 2014. These are surprisingly buoyant numbers given the low profitability across the industry, and suggest that more reductions could lie ahead.

The change in the number of wine producers was uneven around the country (see table). Numbers increased slightly in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, but were lower in other states and territories, with Queensland down from 85 to 79, WA down from 366 to 358 and NSW/ACT down from 469 to 463. Victoria remains the largest state by number of wine producers.

The contraction in winery numbers was particularly evident among producers crushing less than 100 tonnes, where there were 29 fewer companies compared to a year earlier. Queensland has the largest percentage of small wine companies crushing less than 100 tonnes (89.9%), while South Australia has the lowest (57.9%) (see table).

The majority of listed wine companies (72%) were established after 1990 (see table). The 1990s proved to be the boom years as 952 of the existing wine companies were established in that decade. Several wine companies and brands have been in business for 150 years or longer (see table).

The Directory also reveals some interesting trends in business practices by wine companies (see table). The number of companies with a cellar door outlet continues to fall in 2016, following a steep drop the previous year. Less than two thirds of all producers across the country now operate a cellar door, compared to almost 80% a decade ago. Cellar door outlets are found at nine out of 10 wineries in Queensland (90.6%), but in South Australia, barely more half of all wineries continue to operate a cellar door (see table). Wine companies are now relying heavily on websites and social media, although a new question in this year's survey reveals the wine industry is lagging behind other sectors in adopting social media. Among the 2,468 companies in The Directory, only 31% maintained a Facebook page, while 8% promoted their business with Twitter. By comparison, a May 2015 survey by Sensis found that 94% of small businesses and 89% of medium businesses had a social media presence via Facebook, while 17% and 38% respectively were active with Twitter.

In other business trends, the percentage of wine companies making fortified wine remains steady at about 28%, but those making sparkling wines continues to grow and now stands at 42%, up from 39% two years ago and only 29% five years ago.

Australian wine producers advised The Directory they used 155 winegrape varieties to produce straight varietal or blended wines (see table). New varieties to emerge this year include Albariño, Ancellota, Grenache Blanc. These join a wide variety of new entrants in recent years that includes Bonvedro, Grillo, Lambrusco Salamino, Nosiola, Pavana and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. Shiraz is the most common variety being made as a straight varietal wine or blended with 79% of producers listing it, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (66%), Chardonnay (65%) and Merlot (48%).

Tempranillo continued to emerge as a significant new grape variety, and is now used by 370 wine producers compared to only 286 five years ago. Nero d'Avola is one of the fastest growing alternative varieties, increasing from one producer in 2012 to 36 in 2016. Some other minor varieties to show growth from the previous year included Graciano (up 33%), Gruner Veltliner (up 54%), Montepulciano (up 53%), Vermentino (up 9%) and Touriga (up 16%). Viognier continues to lose favour as it has slipped from 566 producers in 2011 to 496 in 2016. Verdelho has seen a drop in the similar time frame from 406 to 339.

Wine Industry Directory Rankings

Accolade Wines remains comfortably on top of the list of Australia's largest wine companies (see table). With winegrape intake of 284,636 tonnes, Accolade is the largest company by a wide margin and is unlikely to be challenged for top spot. However, Casella Wines is closing the gap, lifting winegrape intake by 8.6% in the past year to 179,805 tonnes and overtaking Treasury Wine Estates. The acquisition of Peter Lehmann Wines in late 2014 was a key factor in Casella's improvement in the ranking.

Pernod Ricard Winemakers climbed to fourth ranked position by overtaking Australian Vintage, which reported a decrease form 124,000 to 114,000 tonnes. Kingston Estate Wines and De Bortoli Wines were unchanged at sixth and seventh position respectively, with De Bortoli now within striking distance of improving its position next year.

Lower down the order, a number of producers reported significant growth in their winegrape intake, despite flat conditions overall. Zilzie Wines was the biggest improver, lifting winegrape intake by 26.5% to 43,913 tonnes and boosting its ranking by two positions. Andrew Peace Wines, Salena Estate and Brown Brothers also reported strong growth.

With both Accolade and Casella making significant acquisitions in the past year, consolidation of the industry at the top end continues to be a much talked about trend. However, growth by a number of medium sized companies has counterbalanced consolidation at the top of the industry, as shown by a slight decrease in winegrape intake by the top five companies from 52.0% to 51.7%.

The league table of Australia's largest wine companies by total wine production (see table) mirrored the changes in winegrape intake. Accolade extended its lead at the top of the table, while Casella Wines overtook Treasury Wine Estates. Zilzie Wines was one the biggest movers, up from 11th to 9th position.

The ranking of Australian wine companies by revenue (see table) was largely unchanged, with Treasury Wine Estates remaining on top, followed by Pernod Ricard Winemakers. Wine Insights, which now owns Cumulus Wines and Beelgara Wines, was a new entrant to the top 20 winemakers by revenue at position number 15.

In terms of branded wine sales, Accolade Wines and Treasury Wine Estates were the largest wine companies (see table).

Treasury Wine Estates remained the giant of Australian wine companies in terms of vineyard area, with 9,133 ha under vine or almost three times its next biggest competitor, Australian Vintage with 2,700 ha (see table). Most companies reported steady or increased vineyard areas, which is difficult to reconcile with recent ABS data showing a 9% decrease in total vineyards. Notable moves in the past year included McWilliam's Wines, up from 895 to 980 ha, Andrew Peace Wines, up from 400 to 565 ha, and De Bortoli Wines, up from 820 to 845 ha. With the third largest vineyard owner, Littore Family Wines, recently going into receivership, there could be some significant changes next year in the ranking of vineyard owners.

There was little change to processing capacity in the past year (see table), with increased capacity reported only at Karadoc (Treasury Wine Estates), Griffith (Warburn Estate) and (Piangil) Andrew Peace Wines.

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WID 2016