THE glass could be a little more full for the region’s wineries with China open to more exports from Australia.
Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chairman, Sandy Clark, and chief executive officer, Tony Battaglene, recently travelled to Shanghai where they attended the China International Import Expo, participated in meetings of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and met with Chinese officials and business leaders.
As a result, the organisation said it believed China had “never been more important to the Australian wine industry”.
Riverina Wine Grape Marketing Board chief executive officer Brian Simpson said the MIA region enjoyed a solid relationship with Chinese buyers.
“China has been a very good market for this area,” he said.
“It still is a good market.
“I think it’s always good to have a healthy relationship with China.
“The hiccup can be when there’s some political tension there.
“At the moment we are seeing a bit of tension between China and the USA, but that can be good for us (Australia).”
China has traditionally been a market for red wine, but Simpson said there was starting to be more interest in white varieties.
Leeton’s Toorak Winery is one of many in the MIA who exports to the country.
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It also exports its product to Vietnam, the Pacific Islands, Canada and Japan.
Toorak Winery’s chief winemaker Robert Bruno said he would be open to more trade with China, but said as with any arrangement, there were several issues that needed taking care of.
“We do a little bit with China … just red wines,” Mr Bruno said.
“You do have to be careful with sales to China for a couple of reasons.
“The first is you have to make sure you get paid.
“The second is you also have to be wary of where your wine is being sold.”
Mr Bruno said sometimes the wine could be stored in warehouses in the country for two long before it hits the shelves, which means the seller then heavily discounts the product.
“This can damage your brand and you have to look after your brands,” he said.
Toorak Winery, like others in the region, will continue its trade relationship with China and look into any other opportunities that may arise with the country in the future.
- This story first appeared on The Irrigator.