ED blog

Introducing a new standard of assessing winegrape quality by sets of objective measurements will result in smart economic benefits for all quarters of the local wine industry.

It could be the next great innovative leap forward for Australian wine and represents a win-win-win situation in the Australian wine industry.

More clearly defined measurements of grapes will spark an improvement of vineyard output, which will lead to less waste, more productive output and greater cost efficiencies throughout the wine industry.

Wine Grape Growers Australia believes a clear system agreed to by all parties, will help remove doubt about supply quality from the minds of winegrape growers and wine producers – which will mean more quantities of wine specifically tailored to the demands of consumers.

Such systems will produce significant financial rewards for winegrape growers that meet agreed assessment standards, but such surety is absent in the current market.  Of course, growers won’t produce desired grape characteristics out of altruism alone – they need the incentive.  But the rewards for the winemaker will be there also.

In a system that grape growers understand and comply with, winemakers will obtain access to more fruit to make wines that the market prefers.  That’s why it’s good business to develop and implement a smart new grape assessment system such as this as soon as possible.

Introducing objective measurements will demonstrate that the Australian wine industry is taking responsible action to improve its business performance.  Moreover, it will head off two forms of regulation that winemakers like least; either Government introduction of stringent and inflexible measurements, or industry-imposed standards that could translate to specific dollar amounts being paid according to a rigid list of measurements.

A third way, suggested by Wine Grape Growers Australia, is to introduce a set of objective measurements that could be applied and adjusted to suit each contract between winegrape buyers and sellers.  This would require each winemaker, for each wine product, to describe the wine grape characteristics that produce wine with characteristics sought after by consumers.  It will tighten the links in the value chain between growers, producers and consumers of Australian wine.

However, rather than twisting arms to make this a regulatory requirement, Wine Grape Growers Australia is hopeful that free market forces will link arms to deliver this important outcome.

It’s important that objective measurement systems communicate quality through the description of desired winegrape attributes.  Wine is such a differentiated product, it would die under a regime of over-regulation.  The industry needs to come together and take care of this matter – now.

 

Lawrie Stanford
Executive Director, WGGA
February, 2014