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Australian Wine Industry

In: Social Issues

Submitted By ehh091
Words 1781
Pages 8
1 Synopsis

Today as the world around us continues to age more and more people have an interest for premium wines. As Australia’s economy continues to boom some industries have taken a major hit over the last decade including Australia’s wine industry even though it continues to produce some of the best wines in the world. The report will look into the history of Australian wine and look at where things have gone wrong. The reports key findings will reveal a relatively unknown winery in the town of Orange, called Belgravia that produces some outstanding wines. The results that have been presented have been researched on various Internet resources, newspaper articles and journals. The writer has also contributed to the report with his knowledge, as he is involved in the wine industry.

Table of Contents:
1. Synopsis.............................................................................................................1
2. Introduction........................................................................................................3
3. Procedure...........................................................................................................3
3.1 History...........................................................................................................3-4
3.2 Orange Wine Region …..................................................................................5
3.2.1 Belgravia Vineyard…………………………………………………………5
3.2.2 Belgravia Winemaking……………………………………………………5-6
4. Conclusion..........................................................................................................6
5. References...........................................................................................................7

Although the Australian wine industry is a very big player when it comes to wine exports around the world the industry continues to suffer as the global economy has magnified the growing oversupply of Australian wine. In order to go forward, the industry might have to step back as too many wine and grape producers have been living on an economic knifes-edge for years. Not only is this due to the global economy, a massive oversupply but also major retailers are at price war. Due to the international surplus they are able to pick and choose the price they pay and what they put on their shelves. One region however that has continued to grow and develop is Orange a town in New South Wales, Central West that’s developing itself as an up and coming wine region with great cuisine and the largest gold mine in Australia. This report will educate the reader on the basic history of Australian Wine, explore the Orange wine region, in particular a family owned winery called Belgravia. It will also investigate how people in this industry can survive and how Australians can build their reputation for great wines around the world. Procedure
3.1 History of Australian Wine
The Australian wine industry had early beginnings dating back to 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip alighted Sydney importing Australia’s first grape vines from Brazil and the Cape of Good Hope. (John Beeston. (2008). History of Wine in Australia) Who would have thought that in just over 200 years Australia would be exporting over eight hundred million litres of wine a year and be the fourth biggest exporter of wine in the world. The first vines in Australia were planted in Sydney and due to the hot climate the vines never prospered. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s a man from Sydney’s southwest by the name of John Macarthur started Australia’s first commercial vineyard and winery. (John Beeston. (2008). History of Wine in Australia)
By the 1850’s most states of Australia had well-established commercial vineyards and these regions began to produce very different styles of wine as the vast environment suited various varietals. It wasn’t until around the 1880’s when Australian wines started to achieve success “At the 1873 Vienna Exhibition the French judges, tasting blind, praised some wines from Victoria, but withdrew in protest when the provenance of the wine was revealed, on the grounds that wines of that quality must clearly be French.” (Roderick (2000). A Short history of wine)
By the middle half of the 1800’s Phylloxera, a disease in the vines destroyed over two thirds of the vineyards in Europe and by 1875 Australia fell victim (John Beeston. (2008). History of Wine in Australia) However with the strict regulations implemented in Australia, South Australia’s Barossa Valley remained free from Phylloxera and today has some of the oldest vines remaining in the world.
By the 1980’s domestic wine consumption per capita had reached 17.3 litres, as the ‘bag in a box’ an Australian innovation had been perfected. (John Beeston. (2008). History of Wine in Australia)
In the Table Fig.1 below you can see and overview of the Australian wine sector in 2007, it shows Australia’s biggest export markets as well as the most produced varietals in the country the top being Chardonnay. In the last twenty years the Australian industry however has suffered and Bob Oatley former owner of Rosemount got out at the right time and made a fortune. It was only in the 1980’s that governments sponsored growers to pull out their vines to overcome the glut of wine grapes. With low grape prices in the last seven years there has been debate for yet another sponsored vine pull. (Nance Haxton (2006) “Grape Glut”) Still today wineries continue to sell clean skins to try and combat their poor sales at basically a loss with very little mark up. Although there are many good boutique wineries out there a vast majority of them are struggling to stay in operation. Not only do they have limited funds available to develop there brand they can’t compete as these big retail giants continue to purchase subsidized European wines that Australians buy at a reduced cost.
3.2 Orange Wine Region
In Wine terms, New South Wales is sometimes perceived as a one-region-state – the Hunter Valley gets all the attention. But across the Blue Mountains a less celebrated wine district is in Orange, one of the up and coming regions in Australia starting to produce great wines due to it’s cool climate. There are a wide range of terriors in the region, driven by altitude- and therefore temperature and soils. There are approximately 157,291 hectares* of vines in Australia, with Orange accounting for less than one percent of this at 1500 hectares. (Orange Wine Region: In Review The Australian.)

3.2.1 Belgravia Wines Vineyard
Of particular interest in the Orange region is Belgravia Wines a family owned, boutique wine label now producing some of the best wines of the region, along with other vineyards Bloodwood and Phillip Shaw making superb aromatic whites and fruity reds. The vineyard on Belgravia was planted in 1996 and the first label produced by Belgravia was in 2001. It has 190 of its 1800 hectares under vine and sits at 650-710 metres above sea level making it ideal growing conditions. (W.Hattersley (2011). Belgravia Wines)
3.2.2 Belgravia Winemaking
The cool climate in Orange means that throughout the year in the vineyard there are ambient temperatures, which greatly affects the different characteristics of the wine that you end up drinking. The lower temperatures mean a higher level of acidity, lower sugar levels resulting in a lower alcohol percentage and lighter style wines. (W.Hattersley (2011). Belgravia Wines) this can be seen in comparison to vineyards in the Hunter with the higher temperatures producing generally sweeter and higher in alcohol. Belgravia currently has a fantastic winemaker in Phil Kearney who is producing some fantastic wines and has made Belgravia a five star winery. Two wines are of particular mention in the Belgravia range a chardonnay that is probably the best varietal on the vineyard and a merlot;
- Belgravia Vineyards 2010 Apex Chardonnay: This Chardonnay has been given rave reviews in many magazines and newspaper articles. Australia’s leading wine critic James Halliday gave it a rating of 96 out of 100, which is outstanding. A wine star wine review has even laid claim “it is in my mind the best value premium chardonnay on the Market bar none, a brilliant cool climate chardonnay the equal to any bar the absolute highest echelon of Australian examples”. (Werden, Bert. "Wine Review.") - Belgravia Vineyards 2010 Merlot: This varietal was the only straight merlot to be chosen in the top 100 wines of 2011 in Australia. It’s a fantastic effort by Belgravia and shows the true potential the brand has but also what can come out of the Orange Region. It to also scored 96 out of 100. James Halliday commented “An Australian merlot that a Left Bank producer in Bordeaux would instantly relate to”. (Halliday, James. “Top 100 Wines of 2011”)

Although many of Australia’s boutique wineries continue to struggle we do see hope as few continue to thrive and develop fantastic wines, somehow wine labels need to make it to the booming Asian markets as countries like China continue to create wealth so we may see a turn around in the next few years. “A RUSH of foreign investment, particularly from China, in the Australian wine sector suggests increasing confidence of a turnaround in the industry, for years struggling with oversupply and a surging currency.” (Speedy, Blair. "A toast to China's thirst for wine.")

Throughout this report the history of the wine industry in Australia has been explored touching on a few problems it’s faced with at the moment. One relatively new winery in Orange was looked at called Belgravia that began operations in 1996 as a family vineyard now producing some fantastic wines in a modernized way for everyday drinking. Various challenges have been faced in the industry over the years namely the devastating Phylloxera that struck in the mid 1800’s but luckily didn’t make it to South Australia and today it has some of the oldest vines in the world. Although a new comer in the world of wine, Australia has conquered the mainstream consumer market and will build on this success as it showcases world-class wines of great diversity and the unique regional characteristics they hold.


Halliday, James . "Top 100 Wines of 2011." James Halliday Australian Wine Companion. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. <
John Beeston. (2008). History of Wine in Australia. Available: Last accessed 13th March 2012 .
Nance Haxton (2006). "Grape glut: call for subsidised vine pull". (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Retreived 13th March 2012
No Author (Published 6/1/2011). Orange Wine Region: In Review The Australian.
Phillips, Roderick (2000). A short history of wine. London: Allen Lane. p. 265.
Speedy , Blair . "A toast to China's thirst for wine." The Australian. N.p., 3 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. <>.
W. Hattersley . (2011). Belgravia Wines “Vineyard”. Available: Last accessed 13th March 2012.
Werden, Bert. "Wine Review." Wine Star. N.p., 10 June 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. <>.


Fig 3. Wine Regions Of Australia

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