The Australian Government’s $50 million Package is an ambitious one-off allocation, initially, over four years, to grow the Australian wine sector by showcasing the nation’s wine tourism offering and driving demand for Australian wine exports.
In 2017–18, it entered its delivery phase following extensive consultation. Since then, Wine Australia has worked with AGW and Cider Australia to implement the four programs within the $50m Package. These were planned as international marketing campaigns ($32.5 million), wine export, state-based and competitive grants ($11 million), capability development ($2 million) and the development of a brand strategy for the craft cider industry ($500,000). In the period between the inception of the plan and delivery, there has been some realigning of funding between components of the Package, with the approval of the Minister of Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, as responsible Minister, on each occasion.
The $50m Package’s underpinning strategy is to target markets with the strongest growth potential: namely, China and the USA.
In the USA, the growth opportunity is at the higher price points so the focus has been on raising the perception of, and demand for, Australian wine.
In China, the challenge for the Australian wine category has been to maintain and build on our strong image growth in this highly competitive market.
The original intent was that $50m Package-funded activities would conclude in 2019–20 however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement of a number of significant planned activities and events, and again, with the approval of the Minister, the existing funding has been extended to 2020–21 to allow postponed or delayed activities to be completed.
Activities China and USA marketing
Wine Australia’s global marketing team worked tirelessly in 2019–20 to deliver an ambitious program of events. The core aim was to:
showcase the quality and diversity of Australia’s fine wine and tourism offering, and
raise the perception of, and demand for, Australian wine in China and the USA.
The global marketing team received unparalleled support from the state and regional wine associations, wine businesses and other wine stakeholders to deliver superb events that showcased the quality and diversity of Australia’s fine wine and tourism offerings in our key markets, China and the USA.
Wine Australia delivered the largest-ever promotion of Australian wine in the USA in September and October 2019. The Far From Ordinary campaign attracted more than 100 Australian wine exhibitors with activities that included: an awards evening to celebrate women in the Australian wine sector, 3 nights of consumer events, a 6-city roadshow of trade tastings, an immersive event in Lake Tahoe for 100 key trade and media influencers, and a business development program to build and/or strengthen relationships with retailers, influential on-premise accounts and wholesalers. These activities were underpinned by a bold marketing strategy designed to lift the perception and demand for Australian wine among US trade, consumers and media.
In November 2019, Australian wine producers travelled to Shanghai for back-to-back trade and media engagement opportunities. The campaign kicked off with participation at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2019 and was followed by Wine Australia’s China Awards, the Wine Australia Pavilion at ProWine China and the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter.
All events were spearheaded by the Australian Wine Made Our Way branding and featured AWD education sessions; two enduring benefits of the $50m Package.
Due to the significant impact of COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions, participation in the China Food and Drinks Fair in Chengdu in March 2020 was postponed and participation in Vinexpo Hong Kong in May 2020 was cancelled. Wine Australia’s cornerstone campaign across 4 cities, the China Roadshow, has been postponed to May 2021. Due to domestic and international travel restrictions, our visits program was cancelled and videography and photography in Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley have been postponed.
While the impacts of COVID-19 are still evolving, Wine Australia is focused on innovative strategies for continuing to build demand for Australian wine in market so that the sector is well positioned for the recovery. The sector has made considerable progress towards the $50m Package’s key performance indicators in the 2019–20 financial year, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
Growing Wine Exports and Growing Wine Tourism
From July to December 2019, the Growing Wine Exports (GWE) and Growing Wine Tourism (GWT) workshops for new and experienced wine businesses were delivered 46 times to 443 participants in online, face- to-face and webinar formats, in partnership with the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC). The aim of the workshops was to help wine businesses capture export and wine tourism opportunities with the latest tools, insights and business strategies.
An online, six-part Growing Wine Tourism webinar was delivered from February to April 2020 for 71 participants, with a further 52 participants requesting access to webinar recordings. All recordings have been made available on the Wine Australia website for other interested producers.
Leanne Puglisi-Gangemi of Ballandean Estate Wines said ‘The Growing Wine Tourism webinar has been, without a doubt, the most valuable seminar I’ve done in the last 12 months. The tools and spreadsheets help you to understand how to price experiences’.
Growing Wine Tourism received the Wine Industry Suppliers Association’s Wine Industry IMPACT Award for the Tourism category in October.
Workshops planned for post-2020 vintage period in March to June were cancelled due to COVID-19 impacts. However, two additional six-part Growing Wine Tourism webinar series were delivered and the participation fee was waived in recognition of the hardships caused by bushfire, drought and COVID-19 impacts.
Growing Wine Exports/Tourism hybrid workshop content has been developed and re-designed for online instead of face-to-face delivery in 2020–21. Two days of content will be delivered, with an introductory stream for first-time participants and an advanced stream for previous participants of the Growing Wine Exports or Growing Wine Tourism workshops.
Growing Cider Exports webinar content was also designed and developed for delivery in 2020–21.
Wine Export Grants
The Wine Export Grants program completed in August 2019 with the $1.5 million funding from Program 2b of the $50m Package fully distributed to eligible wineries. Some 135 wineries received an average grant payment of $11,100. Collectively, this group has achieved a 3 per cent compound annual growth rate in export value in the two years ending April 2020.
International Wine Tourism grants
Wine Australia continues to administer two grant programs designed to support the growth of international tourism to wine regions with funding from Program 3 of the $50 million Package:
International Wine Tourism State Grants, and
International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants.
The state-based grants provide state wine sector associations with access to a pre-determined funding allocation. These funds are intended to support a collaborative, strategic approach towards attracting and maximising international wine tourism in each state.
The competitive grants provide a range of stakeholders with the opportunity to apply for funding on a competitive basis, towards initiatives that will grow either the number of and/or spend by international tourists in wine regions.
In March 2020, the state and competitive international wine tourism projects that received grants were afforded the opportunity to extend project delivery to April 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Project delivery and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the international wine tourism grant projects will be completed in 2020–21.
There are 21 regional international wine tourism projects either underway or mostly completed through the International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants program, and 5 state-based projects underway with 1 project completed through the International Wine Tourism State Grants program. These include international marketing and visiting friends and relatives initiatives, virtual reality creations, website development and translation, wine trail establishment, research, strategy development, and much more. The sum of the parts is truly impressive and will raise Australia’s wine tourism offering to another level.
International Wine Tourism Platform
In 2019–20, due diligence was completed with Tourism Australia, the State Tourism Organisations and Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) to determine whether a collaboration was viable to develop an international wine tourism platform and operate it on an ongoing basis. The preferred option was for Wine Australia to work with the ATDW to develop wine sector functionality in ATDW’s existing platform to help wineries more effectively market their businesses and increase their online exposure through tourism distribution networks.
Owned by all State Tourism Organisations, ATDW is Australia’s national platform for digital tourism information, with more than 90,000 tourism operator listings.
Wine Australia has collaborated with ATDW to deliver wine-related functionality that enables wineries to enhance their listings and allows consumers to more readily search for wine tourism experiences.
This has included adding wine-related cuisine types to the food and drink category, facility attributes, wine regions (i.e. geographical indication), accreditation attributes, membership attributes, and wine varieties and styles.
Further enhancements will continue to be rolled out monthly in 2020–21, including online booking capabilities, expanded distribution, itinerary building and expanded content partnerships. Completion is expected by February 2021.