New trading platform answers calls for fairer winegrape market

A new digitised trading exchange for fresh winegrapes has been launched which promises to address many of the concerns expressed in the Australian wine industry about how it currently buys and sells grapes.

The Vinex Grape Exchange claims to provide an unbiased, objective trading platform that allows buyers and sellers to trade winegrapes in a fair, price transparent and connected real-time marketplace.

The exchange is an extension of Vinex’s current global wine trading platform for bulk and bottled wine.

Its launch follows the release of an interim report by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) on its market study into the winegrape sector which identified a lack of transparency and certainty over how grapes are priced.

At the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference last week (22 July), ACCC commissioner Mick Keogh told delegates that greater price transparency was needed to provide increased price certainty to the market and improve growers’ bargaining power and competition between winemakers.

Denys Hornabrook, co-founder and managing director of Vinex – a private company based in London – said the Grape Exchange answers the ACCC’s concerns by providing an independent, transparent platform through which growers can confidently and fairly trade their grapes, providing access to real time grape market pricing and analysis reporting.

Honabrook described the Vinex Grape Exchange as “a comprehensive new secure trading exchange that allows growers and producers to offer and source fresh grapes using sophisticated trading methods, prior to each harvest”.

“Grapes have been traded online via websites for some years — that’s not new, but what is an industry-first are the secure trading tools we’ve developed and the level of detail that’s available when sourcing or offering grapes,” he said.

The Grape Exchange allows pre-harvest contracts to be traded over the five months prior to a country’s harvest commencing and throughout the harvest period. Contracts are subject to site inspection, analysis of the fruit and acceptance of vineyard management documentation.

Vinex earns revenue from invoicing suppliers a service fee on successfully executed trades, based on a percentage of the gross traded value of grapes.

The company launched its digitised bulk wine trading exchange in March 2016 followed by its bottled wine exchange in 2018. It employs regional managers across many of the major wine producing countries.

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