Home' InDaily : July 16th 2010 Contents China has become our fourth
biggest market for wine
exports and the industry is
about to embark on a new market-
It s against this backdrop that
Adelaide lawyer Will Taylor
and his team of wine industry
experts will hit the road for the
18th Finlaysons Lawyers Wine
Not surprisingly the theme is
The Times They Are a-Changin .
The roadshow starts Monday
week in the Coonawarra and
fans out to nine wine districts
across Australia as the industry
contemplates major changes in
its international and national
"The wine industry has been
through a traumatic time in the
last couple of years and right now
it s dealing with a lot of change,"
Mr Taylor said.
"There are issues of supply,
marketing and emerging competi-
tion against the backdrop of the
collapse in key export markets.
"These are difficult times and the
industry needs the best informa-
tion to make the best decisions."
The roadshow is an unusual
concept. It combines the tradi-
tional concepts of community
town hall meetings with the
modern technology of a national
law practice to bring national and
international trends to the local
growers on their patch and at a
time convenient to them.
It s also a two-way process.
"We use it to get an on-ground
sense of what s happening in the
industry and the industry uses it to
get up-to-date information on how
to cope with the latest issues," Mr
Will Taylor is joined on the
trip by representatives of the
Winemaker s Federation of
Australia and the Australian Wine
and Brandy Corporation.
It s part business and part
Taylor started the roadshow
concept in 1993 -- a time when the
industry was also going through a
He had started to specialise in
major legal work for Hardy s and
Berri Renmano, overseeing the
merger of the two concerns in the
fallout from debt issues and the
beleaguered State Bank.
"The idea was to learn more
about the industry than any other
law firm and then be able to tell the
industry that we know how their
business works and we know it
better than any other law firm," he
"The wine industry had become
a personal passion for me and my
approach was that the best way to
service the industry was to know it
from every angle and every corner.
But you can t do that sitting in your
"So the concept of the roadshow
Taylor and his group start in the
Coonawarra on July 26 and then
head to Tasmania, the Yarra Valley,
Rutherglen, the Riverina, Hunter
Valley and Margaret River in
August before wrapping it up in the
Barossa and McLaren Vale in early
Stephen Strachan, CEO of the
Winemaker s Federation is the
keynote speaker at each event.
Stephen was instrumental
in developing Wine Australia:
Directions to 2025, the Australian
wine industry s strategic plan
aimed at building widespread
sustainable success within the
More recently he has taken the
lead role in the Wine Restructuring
Action Agenda, a major national
initiative to address and resolve
the wine sector s oversupply and
changed market outlook.
"My key message will be that the
adjustment process is underway,
but we can t rely on some of the old
practices. Restructuring needs to
continue," Mr Strachan said.
Will Taylor agrees.
"It s about restructuring that
supply from vine pulling to re-
assessing what grapes are planted
where. These are major challenges
for some growers," he said.
There is also the impact of the
continuing consolidation of retail
and wholesale players around the
world -- this squeezes margins and
squeezes the prices available to
"Add in the impact of the high
exchange rate, extra competition
from Chile and Argentina and the
ongoing fallout from the GFC and
you can see how the industry is
going through a major period of
Growers and sellers are also
facing changes in new laws on
geographical location classifica-
tion, label integrity and varietal
New rules for record keeping
ensuring traceability from grape
to glass are aimed at giving greater
integrity to wines and the rules
also mean changes in administra-
tion of many businesses.
But it s not all doom and gloom.
Taylor says he can also see the
"green shoots of recovery" in the
His view is backed up by
Australian Wine and Brandy
Corporation general manager
of market development Paul
Henry, another key speaker at the
Mr Henry has just returned from
China where he and 10 winemakers
visited China s four major cities --
Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and
"China has now become our
fourth biggest market and recent
growth in that market is huge," Mr
Henry said this week.
"Their consumption of
Australian wine is around 20
million litres of bottled product
and the same again in bulk export
"It s coming off a low base, but if
the growth levels are sustained it s
potential is staggering.
"That s the kind of market
intelligence I want to take on the
Finlaysons Roadshow, but I m also
keen to listen.
"Our philosophy is give and take,
listen and speak."
Mr Henry will also be detailing
the marketing strategy which was
launched during last week s trip to
A series of papers will be
produced during and after the
roadshow to give an insight into
the on-ground views of those who
plant the vines, grow the grapes
and make the wine.
In an industry that has changed
so much since 1993, the pace of
change is set to quicken.
The wine industry
had become a personal
passion for me and my
approach was that the
best way to service the
industry was to know
it from every angle
and every corner.
-- Lawyer and tour organiser Will Taylor
Tour organiser Will Taylor has some good news for the industry.
Photo: Kate Elmes
Links Archive July 15th 2010 July 19th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page