By Peter Roberts
Food and beverage has been one of the few manufacturing sectors increasing its share of GDP through the decades-long long decline in manufacturing’s share of the economy.
Our new world leading wine industry is already the star performer, with our industry leading the world in viticulture and winemaking.
Along the way it was Australians who invented the key technology of controlled temperature fermentation which has made possible the rise in new world wines from Africa, Australia and South America.
Now the industry has issued a Vision 2050, developed by Australian Grape & Wine and Wine Australia.
In 2019 Australia exported 814 million litres of wine valued at about $2.8 billion.
Apart from aiming for exports of $10 billion, when added to associated wine tourism the industry itself is looking at a $100 billion a year contribution to the Australian economy by 2050.
Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine Tony Battaglene said: “Our targets for 2050 are ambitious, but Vision 2050 provides the road map to achieve them, through innovation, hard work and a great product.
“We can grow value at all price points across the value chain and drive prosperity in our sector and across regional Australia.”
Progress will be made not by exporting more necessarily, but by continuing the trend already established of premiumisation of Australian wine.
In 2019 average export prices grew by 10 per cent to $3.58/litre FOB.
This trend is being led by wine conglomerate Treasury Wine Estates, Australia’s leading exporter by value.
The company is in the midst of splitting off its super-premium Penfolds brand to give a geater focus to luxury markets.
Accolade Wines, Australia’s largest exporter is following a similar path.
So too at the lower end of the scale Jacob’s Creek, the world’s most traded single wine brand, has been launching wines into higher and higher price points.
All three companies have their production centres in South Australia.
All this comes down to innovation in grape growing and winemaking technology.
In writing this article I happened across Bitwise Agronomy whose technology (pictured) has reached the beta stage.
The company is recruiting launch clients to test its AI systems for counting vine nodes, which combined with moisture and other data should allow better vineyard management decisions.
This in turn will cut operation costs, increase productivity and foster good quality crops.
This is typical of the extraordinary innovation which has underpinned our success to date and which will ensure that a $10 billion figure is attainable.
Picture: Fiona Turner
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