The future of the wine industry was on people’s minds last Friday. Riverland Wine hosted the peak wine industry body Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in a presentation at the Berri Hotel. WFA oversees the interests of winemakers in a number of policy areas at the federal level. The Federation recently published a review of the industry including 33 recommended actions to address a range of challenges and opportunities confronting our industry.
Riverland Wine’s chair Brian Walsh introduced WFA president Tony D’Aloisio and CEO Paul Evans. Both men led discussions with an audience of around 30 Riverland growers and producers. There was a strong focus on a range of initiatives to grow both the international and domestic markets. The Federation is working closely with Wine Australia in this regard and Riverland Wine continues to be a strong supporter of the Regional Visitations Program designed to raise awareness of what this region has to offer to global market. There was much discussion about the recommendations to review the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate arrangements to ensure that businesses with long term investment commitments derive benefit and the system is safeguarded against exploitation as has been alleged in recent years as the number of Wine Producer Licenses and in ‘virtual wineries’ has escalated.
Friday’s meeting concluded WFA’s round of national consultations. Submissions will continue to be received and recommendations will be put to the WFA Board in November. The meeting provided a great opportunity for members to meet and work with the Winemakers’ Federation. Further outcomes will be published in coming weeks.