Australian Wines- The Challenges Ahead

Outside the continental Europe, the traditional hotbed of wine-making industry, the two other major countries which have become famous for the viticulture and wines are USA and Australia. Within the USA, it is the regions within California which have made a mark on global stage and, in Australia, it is the south-eastern parts of the country which are well-known for this practice. Australia has emerged as one of the dominant players of this industry since late 1980s though wines have been made here for almost 2 centuries now. Wines are consumed domestically by a good number of people. Besides Europe and USA, Australian wines have carved a niche for themselves in the exports market with USA and China being the major export markets. The story of growth and wide acclaim for the Australian wines has been going on well for the time being, but the concerns of its future are already taking over the industry.

These challenges are primarily related to the climatic changes, competition and finding newer markets. Climate change is a major concern since this threatens the very existence of the industry. It is well known that grapes are cultivated arduously on very specific temperature, moisture and geo-morphological conditions. The regional influences play an important role in providing distinguishing characteristics to the wines. Any change in the climatic patterns, if results in shift of wine growing areas, is likely to bereft the wines of their distinguishing characteristics. At the same time, there will be challenges in finding the suitable wine-growing regions. There would also be short and long term consequences associated with the movement of the industry. These relate to shifts in employment, contribution to the revenues of the government, creation of newer infrastructure at new places and many more. Thus, the wines industry is already in the process of implementing mitigating measures with good capital investments towards sustainable farming methods and finding newer avenues for relocation.

Another major concern pertains to the competition from new wine growing regions. Wines industry is fast taking shape in the South American countries, particularly those in the mountainous regions, such as Chile. These new regions also pose a direct competitive challenge to the Australian wine industry. While it will take some time for these countries to match the level of capital investment and quality of wines, these threats are real and cannot be dismissed lightly. Strong brand equity for Aussie wines and fast expansion into newer consumption markets is likely to make a larger impact on this industry.

The third major challenge is finding the market for fast expansion. There are many hurdles in this respect. At first, the government policies must be suitable for encouraging the import of wines in their respective countries. Secondly, the population shall have a general liking for the wines or else, the taste needs to be cultivated for the same. The countries where other forms of alcohol, such as whisky or beer, are already well entrenched bring both the prospects as well as competition for the new alcoholic beverages such as wines.

All of these concerns and their solutions are of long term nature and need to be worked on in well-considered manner in order to safeguard the interests of the Australian wine.


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