Govt announces $3.5 million grape and wine support package

Thursday, 13 June, 2024

Govt announces $3.5 million grape and wine support package

On 12 June, the Albanese government announced a $3.5 million Grape and Wine Sector Long-term Viability Support Package to support the long-term viability of the grape and wine industry to respond to the oversupply of red wine. However, members of the wine industry are thirsty for more security.

The package will fund a range of activities which aim to build demand and new markets for wine both domestically and internationally, provide better data for growers to make decisions and diversify into alternative products, and investigate competition and regulatory issues.

The Albanese government has also announced that it will extend support for wine producers to grow domestic sales and promote agritourism by supporting the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant Program for another year.

This allows wine and cider businesses the opportunity to share in $10 million of funding designed to help attract visitors to Australian wine regions and promote agritourism.

Under the program, wine producers can apply for grants of up to $100,000 on eligible cellar door sales made during the previous financial year.

These announcements come on top of $2 million surge support for affected Australian agricultural exporters to re-establish commercial connections in China and continue to diversify into other markets.

In just one month since duties were removed on bottled wine, Australia has exported over $86 million of quality wine to China.

The majority of Australian wine exports to China are from South Australia. South Australian wine producers have exported almost $80 million of wine to China in the first month since duties were removed (92.1% of Australia’s total wine exports to China).

To address this, the government aims to support the diversification of wine export markets and federal, state and territory agriculture ministers recently established the Viticulture and Wine Sector Working Group, to develop a nationally coordinated approach and provide advice on options to support the industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said: “I know how hard the past few years have been for wine producers across the country, so to see the successful return of this export market is fantastic for the future of the wine sector.

“But we also know there are some in the industry who are doing it tough who don’t export to China, and that’s why today we have announced this new package to support the long-term sustainability of the sector.”

Lee Mclean, CEO of Australian Grape & Wine, said: “We are pleased with the government’s swift response to feedback received during the Viticulture and Wine Sector Working Group’s consultations.

“The planned activities to boost demand, open new markets, provide better data, diversify products and investigate competition and regulatory issues represent a modest investment towards addressing medium- to long-term issues in our sector.”

However, McLean underscored the urgent need for solutions to the current supply and demand imbalance, red wine oversupply and increasing economic disadvantages in regional Australia.

“While these measures will support future policy- and decision-making, immediate assistance for grape growers and winemakers remains critical. The long-term viability of our industry is essential to the economic success of communities across rural and regional Australia,” McLean said.

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