Australia's winemakers needs diversified export markets to lower the risks from global political tensions and changes in consumer demand, with a new strategy paper setting a target for the industry to more than triple exports to $10 billion a year by 2050.
"Vision 2050", a report to be released on Wednesday by industry group Australian Grape and Wine, sets a series of ambitious goals for the next 30 years that see the wine sector and tourism associated with it contributing more than $100 billion a year to the Australian economy by 2050.
Higher profitability will not come through increased plantings, but from producing more premium wines and others that appeal to consumers around the world, the industry plan says, forecasting that total Australian production will be maintained around its long-term average.
"Exports are key to the profitability of the sector. While the largest markets of China, North America and the United Kingdom will remain highly important customers, a diversified markets strategy will provide growth opportunities in Europe, India, Southeast Asia and Africa," it says.
In 2019 Australia exported 814 million litres of wine valued at about $2.8 billion, with the domestic market measured at $3.5 billion with 496 million litres sold.
The blueprint follows a challenging six to 12 months for the industry, including the recent COVID-19 lockdowns which shut vineyard restaurants, cut tourism and slashed revenue. The coronavirus followed a vintage where some vineyards suffered "smoke taint" as smoke from bushfires damaged grapes, forcing them to abandon about 60,000 tonnes of grapes.
I'd rather miss a high target than achieve a low one...Setting high targets is great, because at least there's a benchmark for everyone to try and reach.Zonzo Estate's Rod Micallef
The report emphasises the need to keep developing multiple export markets, a point made recently by various industries in the wake of ongoing trade tensions between Australia and China.
"A key consideration will be to minimise the risk associated with over-reliance on one or two key markets. Diversifying markets also reduces the potential impact of external economic shocks arising from geopolitical tensions, exchange rate fluctuations and changing demand patterns," it says.
Australian Grape and Wine CEO Tony Battaglene said the plan outlined key growth strategies for the industry.
"We've got to make sure that our offering is something that people want. The quality is already good, but it's telling people how good it is, and it's out-competing in some of those key export markets," he said.
"We're not just an elite industry, we've got great value for money, we've got great quality and we can match it with the best in the world," he said.
Mr Battaglene said there were also opportunities to capitalise on the increasing health awareness of people, by marketing wines that were low or no-alcohol products.
Rod Micallef, owner of Zonzo Estate in the Yarra Valley, backed the $10 billion a year export target.
"We set goals for ourselves, to increase our business by 18 per cent every year," he said.
"In my business we always set high targets. I'd rather miss a high target than achieve a low one...Setting high targets is great, because at least there's a benchmark for everyone to try and reach," he said.