A fortnight ago more than forty wine industry leaders from around the country met in Adelaide to find ways for our industry to work together developing strategies that will accelerate the return to profitability and sustainability in the shortest time frame. It was encouraging to witness growers and winemakers listening to each other, sharing the same goals and objectives.
Indeed, it was pleasing to see the two peak bodies, Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) and Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) issuing a joint statement outlining that agreement had been reached to tackle the long-running wine sector downturn together. Read the joint statement.
Winegrowers chair Vic Patrick and Winemakers Federation President Tony D’Aloisio agreed that although there is still considerable work to be done the meeting delivered a valuable first step in agreeing the key issues that need to be addressed.
The meeting agreed that:
- A return to profitability requires a national response from all levels of industry representation and consensus on what must be done.
- There are a number of factors and influences that will need to be addressed to enable the industry to return to profitability. Among the range of issues considered, three key underpinning themes emerged. These were a need to address:
- Supply related issues;
- demand related issues; and
- Capabilities of businesses, organisations and individuals across the industry.
The gathering of grower and winemaker leaders agreed it is time for the industry to work more collaboratively if there is to be any real hope of agreement on strategic priorities and importantly, when developing policy in partnership with government, to do so with a single strong voice.
In the short term, the working group of 9 people from regions around the country who assisted in planning the meeting, have been charged with responsibility to undertake further analysis of governance structures and organisational models (that work for other industries) and to develop specific options for consideration and further discussion towards the end of this year prior to reconvening with the larger group to agree the most appropriate next steps based on the working group’s input. Riverland Wine will continue to play an active role in the initial working group and with the larger group in due course.