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Delhi Wine Club
Australians Urged to Drink Domestic Wine

Posted: Tuesday, 24 January 2012 14:14

Australians Urged to Drink Domestic Wine

Jan 24 : It is not only the Indian wine producers who lobby actively for the support of Indian wine industry, Australia has been troubled so much with continuous falling of exports and increasing imports due to strong Australian dollar that the Australia Day message on January 26 asks Aussies to think of patriotism as much as palate and drink Australian wine only

Five years ago, Australia’s wine industry was an international sensation. Driven by signature brands such as Yellow Tail, the most popular Aussie brand selling millions of cases in the US and the ubiquitous Jacob’s Creek that still rules the roost at Indian retail shops due to its strong branding support from its parent Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Regal, exports increased more than four times in a decade till 2007.

Peaking at 786 million liters in 2007, Australia had overtaken France as U.K.’s top importing country in 2005 and was a frontrunner in the U.S. in 2008 according to a report in Bloomberg. But then came the glut and heated competition from emerging producers like Argentina, Chile and S. Africa, resulting in exports falling by 11 % in the last  four years to 703 million liters in 2011.

At the same time, the Australian dollar which traded at 54 Euro Cents to the Aussie dollar in 2003 was continuously devalued to the recent 81 cents making it more and more affordable to import wines from Europe which have become so reasonable that a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne is available for less than the domestic sparkling wine Chandon produced by the same French owner LVMH (Indians will also get to taste their Nasik- produced bubbly from LVMH in 2013).

Since 2007, imports have increased by 95% to 73 million liters, with France being the biggest gainer at 58% growth, according to the report.

Import of wine has also been caught up in the price wars between the chain department stores like Coles and Woolworths, a phenomenon that brings cheers to the consumers everywhere and jeers from the domestic producers- a phenomenon that is waiting to happen after the FDI Retail opens up in India. ''People like Coles and Woolworths are actually importing their own wines now and cutting out the middle man,'' says an Aussie industry expert. ''Therefore their prices are more competitive.''

Indian producers and consumers would find it equally amusing to know that the Aussies also think that imported wine is better than their own. ‘Coupled with a cultural cringe that assumes foreign wine must be better, the low prices for obscure European drops have caused a flow of wine into the country that the local industry is desperate to stem,’ according to Sydney Morning Herald.

The Australian industry's response to the deluge of cheap wine is a new marketing campaign asking consumers to consider patriotism as well as palate. Wine Australia wants Australians to stick to Australian wine on Australia Day on January 26 and, if they catch someone drinking an offshore drop, to ''pull down their strides''.

Wine Australia is one of five peak national organizations, a government statutory authority to provide strategic support to the Australian wine sector, operating in Australia and overseas on high-level issues, including wine sector marketing, policy, lobbying and research.

Although it is purely an internal matter, delWine does feel it is rather unfair to ask the Aussies to drink only Australian. What if all the other importing wine producing countries like USA, China and India (there is already a murmur of the infant UK industry to voice that opinion) decided on a similar policy? There message should have been to tell ALL Australians to drink wine-any wine, to show solidarity with the nation in wine trouble.

Taking a cue from Wine Australia, delWine would exhort all the readers and drinkers of wine and non-wine but alcoholic beverages to have a glass or two of wine-any wine but preferably an Indian wine on January 26 which is our Republic Day since 1950. It’s a pity though that one cannot show such solidarity in public –it’s a DRY day! For our non-Indian subscribers, no alcoholic beverage may be bought, sold or consumed in public in India on Republic Day-editor


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