Australia’s wine grape industry has grown from a few small plantings to an industry renowned throughout the world as one of the top wine producing countries.
Australia is one of the few countries that produces all major wine styles due to the diversity of our climate and soil types. Shiraz (25%) and Chardonnay (21%) are the dominant varieties by volume.
The industry is segmented between warm climate ‘in land wines’, representing 60% of production, with the balance mainly cooler climate wines. Vineyards in Australia vary from family run operations with an average of around 50 hectares (ha), to large scale operations of over 1,000 ha.
Australia’s largest wine producer by revenue is Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) with revenue of $2.2 billion and access to over 14,000 ha of vines. The Rural Funds Group (RFF) owns seven high quality vineyards planted with 666 ha of vines and leased to TWE until 2022. The vineyards predominantly produce Shiraz and Cabernet grapes in South Australia, supplying well-known wine brands including TWE’s Penfolds label.
The grape and wine industry in Australia has operated in difficult market conditions over the past decade, impacted by over-plantings, exchange rate challenges and increased international competition. Whilst property prices have reflected these conditions, vineyard values in iconic areas such as the Barossa Valley in South Australia have experienced valuation uplifts in recent years.
The outlook for premium wines, such as those produced with grapes grown at the RFF vineyards, is positive with increasing demand for premium grades in Asian and North American markets, which were key drivers of export growth in 2015-16. The softening of the Australian Dollar in recent years has had positive effects for exporters and Australia has recently signed Free Trade Agreements with Japan, Korea and China which are expected to provide tariff reductions in those countries.
Australia exported $2.1 billion of wine in 2015-16, an increase of 11% on the previous year. Exports of higher value wines over $10 per litre to the United States grew by 16%, mainland China by 71% and the United Kingdom by 15%, Canada by 12% and Hong Kong by 5%.
Australia’s Top 5 wine export destinations (2015-16)
Value of exports above $10 per litre (2015-16)
- Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA)
- gov.au ‘Australian Stories: Australia’s Wine Industry’
- Treasury Wine Estates