Filling in the (data) gaps… with Wine Australia
Riverland Wine has been invited by Wine Australia to participate in a project to improve the quality, the availability and timeliness of grape and wine industry information. As Riverland Wine members will attest, the mantra ‘know your numbers – know your risks’ has been chanted at industry meetings for years. To their credit, many have improved their knowledge and understanding of gross margins, input costs, overheads and returns.
That’s all well and good but there’s much more information needed to manage the risks involved in investing and reinvesting to grow crops, purchase water and other inputs and sell at ‘sustainable’ prices. Just like winemakers, growers need to know and understand marketplaces; to know who the consumers are who purchase Riverland Wine, why they purchase it and what can be done to build loyalty and retain them as customers. Growers want to understand the wine business, well beyond the farm-gate. They know the ‘competition is not the neighbour, nor the neighbouring region. They know it’s the wine growers and winemakers in Italy, Sicily, Spain, California, France and elsewhere. More relevant information about the global marketplace, in advance of the next growing season is crucial.
In working with Wine Australia on this project, ‘Riverland Wine members will help identify and open up information flows; linking vineyards, through the value chain, to consumers. Despite arguments to the contrary, all the missing information is out there!
Operating blind in any environment is dangerous. The ‘blinkers’ principle applies in winegrowing. It’s not just the blinkered operators at risk but the entire sector. It will never perform to its potential. Right now at the end of November 2015, fruit set is complete. The commitment to grow crops is done and dusted. Much of the cost of growing is spent. There’s no turning back. And yet, those bound by contracts to some of the world’s most savvy wine marketers have no reasonable idea of what to expect as a return on their outlay.
The opportunity to work with Wine Australia to fill the gaps is gold! In its five-year Strategic Plan, two priorities are identified: increasing demand and the premium paid for all Australian wine and increasing competitiveness. To help achieve those priorities and to support informed decision making, Wine Australia believes it is vital:
- for levy payers to have access to timely and accurate benchmark information, and
- for the sector to have grape and wine supply and demand information available by region and by variety.
Riverland Wine agrees. This is a terrific project to be involved with.