Wines left on the vine from China have a new home at Naked

In December 2020, post the China wine tariff hike, Naked Wines made a commitment to the independent wine industry to honour all of its current contracts, continue delivering fair prices to winemakers and customers, and a $5 million recuse fund to support winemakers hit hard.

The rescue campaign for the industry, called ‘Stop the Squeeze’, has now delivered its funding to independent Australian winemakers and the results are ready for wine consumers to enjoy.

Well-known independent winemakers such as Leighton Joy (Pyren Vineyard), Hamish Maguire (Shottesbrooke Wine), and Jason Schwarz (Schwarz Wine Company) are part of a group of 11 benefactors, that as a result of being a part of the program are now able to redirect wines no longer financially viable to be sent to China, back into the glasses of Australian wine lovers.

Alicia Kennedy, managing director of Naked Wines Australia said, “We know Australians are ready to dive in and help the smaller local players in the wine industry, and this is the perfect time for wine lovers to come together and rally for these hard hit winemakers”.

“With Stop the Squeeze they will be supporting independent, local, rescued drops and we don’t think you’ll find a more conscious drink on the market.

“The tariff action had an immediate financial impact for the entire wine industry, but for independent winemakers – who are already operating on small margins and being constantly squeezed by big bottle major supermarket chains here in the domestic market – it has the potential to be a slow death to their businesses.

“When you have a bigger business, or are owned by Coles or Woolworths, you have more breathing room financially and there is a greater ease in weathering these big disruptive market storms.

“But if Australians want to see a truly local and diverse wine industry, then they need to step up and support it with ways that truly support independent winemakers. Such as going direct to the producer’s cellar door or buying online through direct-to-consumer business models, so as much profit as possible can be passed on to the winemaker.”

One winemaker hit hard by the trade tariffs, and who is now a part of the Stop the Squeeze rescue fund is Leighton Joy from Pyren Vineyard.

“When China announced the tariffs would be here for five years it forced our business and the wider industry to take a reality check, and because of the instability in the market, we went back to square one with what the future might look like,” Joy said.

“We’ve been really fortunate to be working with Naked and seeing our wines continue to be placed in domestic markets, but the funding from the Stop the Squeeze rescue fund has meant that rather than hit pause, we’ve been able to go forward on a range of critical projects for the future sustainability and stability of our business.”

A core project Pyren Vineyard has been able to implement, as a result of being a benefactor of the funding, includes transitioning the property towards organic certification and also climate activities to become carbon net zero by the end of year.

“If you look at what consumers are searching for in their wine domestically, together with what the large export markets are wanting to see from Australian wines, sustainable and organic wines are coming in at the top of the list,” Joy said.

“So the funding from Stop the Squeeze has given us the confidence to keep moving forward on these really important projects and commit to a better long term future for our business.”

The wines being sold as a result of Stop the Squeeze contain a variety of premium red wines from featured independent winemakers, affording a nearly unprecedented opportunity for wine lovers to experience them, whilst simultaneously supporting and making an impact to these talented independent winemakers.

The wines will be available through Naked Wines and are being released right through to the end of October this year.

“Making these wines available to all Australians is a great opportunity for wine lovers as we truly believe some of the best wine being made in this country is being made by independent winemakers,” said Kennedy.

“Without the funds from Stop the Squeeze, it would mean a lot of the hard work, labour and love gone into these wines bound for the China market would have been left to rot.

“In fact, for some winemakers who are significantly vested in the Chinese consumer market, without these rescue funds, it would have meant the possibility of those businesses closing their doors under the pressures faced from the China tariff trade action.

“We want to see all wine lovers get their hands on these amazing one-off drops while they last!”


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