COMMENT: Winemakers chase foreign sales
New statistics throw into sharp relief why the Australian wine industry is spending A$10m to boost overseas sales at a time when it continues to ship record quantities.
After a decade in which exports have soared from A$380m a year to A$2.76bn, there is sudden anxiety about whether Australia is developing a cheap image.
Australians producers are locked into a pattern of exporting more wine for less money per unit. Latest figures from the Wine and Brandy Corporation, a moving annual total, show export volume for the year to 30 April up 17% to 660m litres. But value, up 11%, reflected a decline in average unit value of 5.3% over the year to A$4.19 a litre.
A global glut and stiff competition from Europe and the Americas have steadily forced down the value per litre at a time when domestic sales are flat.
The response has been the "Open your mind to Australian wine" promotional drive. Australians see themselves as victims of their own success with such top brands as Banrock Station, Jacob's Creek and Yellow Tail. It has created what Jonathon Scott, general manager of the Australian Wine Export Council, calls a success shadow.
The campaign theme is one of quality and diversity from 65 distinct regions.
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