Wine exports generally can be substantially increased and more investment by any level of government is very welcome by industry, says Sandalford Wines CEO.

More wine export investment needed

Sandalford Wines chief executive officer says a market as big as China needs more investment to facilitate the time needed to truly win it over.
April 24, 2024
Anita McInnes

A SWAN Valley wine producer says the extra money to promote WA wines and re-enter the Chinese market is welcome but a bigger investment is necessary as the market is so big.

The state government recently announced $500,000 for the Western Australian wine industry to help re-establish trade with the Chinese market, following the recent removal of wine import tariffs.

The funding is extra to the $6 million joint investment in WA’s wine industry export growth partnership – a four year partnership, which started in June 2021.
Sandalford Wines chief executive officer Grant Brinklow said any contribution that government could make whether it was state, federal or even local government to restart operations in those markets was very helpful.

“But I guess the question that I have is how far will $500,000 really go when you consider the number of producers in Western Australia that are wanting a share of that pie?’’ he said.

“If a couple of hundred producers apply they might get a couple of thousand.

“Don’t get me wrong when the government’s giving something back as opposed to taking it away in an industry sector as competitive as ours and a market as important as China we’ll very graciously and appreciatively accept that.

“But what I’d be encouraging is for a far more substantial investment that will really help turbo charge the efforts of industry whether they’re Swan Valley producers or from any other part of WA to actively go back.

“Because if you get a couple of thousand dollars that might cover the cost of a return airfare and time for a couple of days in a market, but in order to restore Australia’s position in China it’s going to take more than a few days or a week in a market.

“It’s going to take many, many weeks.”

In Removal of wine tariffs not an easy path back to China (Echo News, April 5) Mr Brinklow said he had spent a year of his life spread over 35 separate trips to China where he was spending a week to two weeks at a time in the market.

“But the market is so big there,’’ he said.

When the extra funding was announced Premier Roger Cook said he would lead an industry roundtable to discuss the industry’s goals and strategies to rebuild key relationships and trading channels with China.

Mr Brinklow said he expected the industry body representing WA wine producers would have been there as their chief executive officer Larry Jorgensen was beside the premier when they made the announcement.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said several WA businesses would be attending VINEXPO Asia, the region’s premier wine and spirit trade exhibition in Hong Kong from May 28-30, with the support of the WA government.

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