Australian wine: Ripe for the picking

“The other experience we’ve had is where the buyers have an in-between person. This person tells us something so we give them the information to go back with and then the buyer wants something else. I think it’s often the case that the buyers are not sure what they’re looking for, so they’re refining as they go through.

“There haven’t been an awful lot of properties sold to Chinese buyers here. They come back three or four years in a row and still don’t take action on a property. The thing that makes it awkward is possibly the cultural differences in doing business between the regions, and having the in-between man makes it difficult too.”

ECONOMIC BOOST

Turton is quick to point out that international investment, from Chinese buyers or anyone else, is perfectly welcome among the local community. After all, these investments boost the local economy and international buyers are still employing local people – winemakers, vineyard managers,marketing and cellar door staff – opportunities that many wine regions have a real need for.

Wine regions of Tasmania

Wine regions of Tasmania

Tasmania is one of those regions, and so much so that the state government has been assisting in a drive to encourage investment from overseas. Carole Rodger and Karl Paal at the state’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts have been involved in the project.

“The idea came from various sources, but the project was really industry and market driven. The quality of Tasmanian wines is widely recognised and demand still outstrips supply,” says Paal. “Wine has been identified as a priority food and agriculture sub-sector and is a current contributor to growth. It’s a driver for wine and food tourism and has a strong link to Tasmania’s brand proposition.

It’s a fairly small contributor currently, but there’s real potential for growth.” In the run-up to the International Cool Climate Symposium held in Tasmania last year, the department produced a very detailed booklet providing hypothetical investment scenarios with projected timelines and returns, called Wine Industry Tasmania – a Guide for Investors.

“Our main focus was to understand the industry better and develop materials to support investors. We engaged with the industry and supported Wine Industry Tasmania to hold the symposium. We also held a seminar with consultants delivering some of the information contained within the guide about the Tasmanian opportunity,” says Rodger.

“We’re certainly open to discussion to facilitate any interest from Chinese or other Asian buyers. But it’s early days, and it’s a slow process.”

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