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Trade talk: What should Australia do to revive exports?

Victor de Bortoli, export director, De Bortoli Wines

de-BortoliAll the things we are doing now are important and I think in truth are positive.

The work Wine Australia is doing with the limited resources they have has been great, Savour Australia was a positive call to arms by the Australian Wine industry. Other initiatives include getting winemakers out into the markets, trade fairs, visits to Australia by relevant stakeholders and promoting our regional wines with passion.

Tourism Australia (with deep pockets) is collaborating with Wine Australia through their Restaurant Australia campaign which is a great initiative and benefit for Australian wine.

The one thing that can always help is the exchange rate but this is out of our control. The signing of the Free trade Agreements in Korea and Japan is good news – hopefully the Australian government can get China over the line now.

Jeffrey Grosset, owner, Grosset Wines

GrossetAll quality focused producers were impacted by the short term thinking of some producers here. This damaging approach was not restricted to larger companies. It was opportunism across small to large and it meant producers like us had to simply focus on our own business and wait for this short sightedness, and the effect it was having, to blow over. We simply held our sales during that time maintaining an important presence to represent the ‘no compromise’ makers in this country.

What Australia should do in my view is what we are doing, en masse: delivering outstanding quality and not being backward in letting people know what we are doing. This doesn’t mean that we should ‘re- categorise’ high quality wine. I would be very wary of any company describing their high end offerings as “luxury”!

Michael Hill Smith MW, co-owner, Shaw & Smith

Hill-Smith-MWFor me the way ahead for fine, regional Australian wines is:

• Firstly not to be defined by the exchange rate. Even at a higher dollar the best and most interesting Australian wines still offer good value and interest when they are compared with wines of similar quality from other countries.

• To understand that promoting fine regional wines is missionary work and as such we must continue to expose our very best to the most influential. In the end quality will win the day.

• To put more focus on the on-premise. Australia has traditionally done better in the off-trade than on and this imbalance needs to be addressed. Wine Australia’s travel and other programmes are helping with this.

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