Wine Companies

Australian Wine Producers

Number of wine producers

The total number of wine producers in Australia increased slightly by 2% in 2020 to a total of 2268 producers with all states seeing an increase except Tasmania (see Table 12). South Australia saw the largest increase in the country, with an additional 28 producers in 2020 (see Table 12). Just over 30% of the nation’s wine producers are based in South Australia.

Approximately 64% of producers in the country process less than 50 tonnes of grapes per annum (see Table 13). This smaller scale production highlights the unique placement of Australia as a producer of artisan wines within the global market. Compared with 2018 (2019 data unavailable), there was a 31% decline in the number of wine producers crushing 50-499 tonnes, with 460 producers remaining in this category (see Table 13).

It is also worth highlighting that there was a 40% increase (compared with 2018, data from 2019 unavailable) in producers in the unknown/did not crush category (Table 13), perhaps reflecting the devastating impact of the 2019-20 summer bushfires across eastern states and in South Australia, with crops suffering smoke taint or direct fire damage in regions such as the Adelaide Hills, Hunter Valley and Tumbarumba.

Comparing production profiles by state, Victoria leads the nation for small-scale production, with 456 producers crushing less than 50 tonnes in 2020 (see Table 13). In contrast, South Australia leads the mid to high-level production, with 329 producers crushing over 50 tonnes (see Table 13).

The Wine Industry Directory can also reveal some interesting trends in business practice by wine companies. The number of wine producers with a cellar door outlet showed a decline from 1562 in 2018 (2019 data not available) to 1225 wine producers in 2020 (see Table 14). In percentage terms, the decline was observed primarily in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. In South Australia, only 43.6% of wine companies complement their business with a cellar door, making it the state with the lowest percentage in the country (see Table 15). The decline in the percentage of cellar door operators within the state marks the first time this has fallen below 50% (data not shown).

In comparison, nearly 60% of wine producers in Victoria and 57% in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory still actively engage with customers through a cellar door (see Table 14). The continuing trend of fewer cellar doors, observed over the last decade could be exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19-related state and international travel restrictions. Compared to 66% a decade ago, just over half (54%) of all wine producers across the country now operate a cellar door to complement their business.

Wine companies are now relying heavily on the use of technologies such as websites and social media platforms to engage with customers. Almost 90% of wine producers have an active website for customers. Facebook remained the most popular social media platform with 48% of wine companies maintaining a presence. Twitter is also increasing in importance and is now used by 21% of wineries. LinkedIn is also becoming a platform that provides value to the industry (see Table 14).

Approximately 42% of the nation’s wine producers export their products globally, with China, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and USA making up the top five destinations for Australian exporters (see Table 14).

Wine producer industry rankings

As highlighted by the Wine Industry Directory’s ranking of wineries by exporting  volume,  Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) maintained its dominance, with Accolade Wines not far behind (see Table 18). These two largest exporters were followed by Casella Family Brands. Pernod Ricard Winemakers and Australian Vintage completed the top five producers with the largest export volumes.

TWE also continued its long reign as the most valuable winemaker in the export market (see Table 19), with the top five exporters by value comprising the same companies with the largest export volumes. The company is now also the nation’s biggest producer by total wine production, overtaking Accolade Wines for the first time in a decade (see Table 21). The announcement of tariffs by the Chinese Government in late 2020 was widely speculated to be detrimental to TWE. However, the company announced it had implemented a response plan to reduce the impact of the tariffs on its earnings which included accelerating sales and marketing to other key luxury growth markets. The group’s share price on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) as at February 2021 had recovered steadily from the fall that followed the tariff announcement in November 2020, signalling strong market confidence in the company.

Accolade Wines remains Australia’s largest company in terms of grape intake, a position it’s held since a change of ownership to CHAMP Private Equity (see Table 20). Overall rankings remained largely unchanged compared to previous years. However, it is interesting to note that there are large disparities in grape intake by the top 20 wine companies. The largest wine company crushed as much as five times more than the 10th company (see Table 20).

With solid, established export markets, including for its premium wine products, eight wineries and two packaging facilities, Treasury Wine Estates had the highest revenue amongst its competitors (see Table 22). The ranking of wine companies by revenue remained largely unchanged compared to the previous year. One notable exclusion is McWilliam’s Wines, which was placed in administration in early 2020, with subsequent acquisition plans and rumoured sales falling through. TWE also has the largest area of vineyard plantings in Australia (see Table 24).

Casella Family Brands increased its area under vine by 1249 hectares to a total of 6699 hectares in 2020 (see Table 24). Along with having the largest processing facility in Australia, located at Yenda in the Riverina (see Table 26), expansion is very much at the forefront of the company’s direction. Established in 1965, the family business continues to be successful with its flagship product Yellow Tail sold all around the world. The company announced plans to sell two of its wineries (Woodside Estate and Krondorf Winery in the Barossa Valley) and to relocate production of its Petaluma, Croser and Grant Burge portfolios to its Tintara and St Hallett wineries. Overall, there have been no major changes to large-scale wine processing facilities within Australia (see Table 26).

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