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AUSTRALIA: Australia sets new industry targets of $5bn yearly sales

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The Australian wine industry today announced new targets after admitting that it has already achieved some of the goals it had set itself in its 30-year plan in just four years. However it remained cautious of competition and a grape glut.

After ripping up the Vision 2025, which was set out in 1996 the Aussie industry has laid down plans to sell A$5bn worth of wine a year by 2010. Australia is expected to sell A$2.85 billion worth of wine alone this year.

In the original 2025 plan forecasters believed the country would have to plant 40,000 hectares of new grapes by 2025. By spring this growing year grape growers are expected to have already planted 100% of this quota.

However, despite the achievement the industry remains cautious. The forward estimates for sales and general growth are still conservative because as industry leaders were quick to point out overall alcohol consumption worldwide is falling and Australia is facing stiff competition among other developing wine growing countries.

In addition the huge increase in grape planting while an achievement to outpace expectations may result in a wine glut. The Winemakers Federation of Australia is urging members to aim for quality to ensue continued sales. And the industry now intends to make Australia a global leader in the premium sector ($A10-$A15).

Winemakers Federation marketing chairman Paul van der Lee said the next decade would be a tougher one to sell wine in than the last. He said: "We do not expect the world economy to repeat the robust performance of the 1990s and we are already aware of the global trend towards retail and wholesale consolidation, which means fewer and larger wine retailers and wholesalers."

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