An end to cheap discounted Australian wine is signalled in a major new document which updates the landmark Strategy 2025.

The ambitious industry plan to drive Australian wine growth was unveiled in Sydney yesterday – and its key message is: ‘Australian wine is about quality, not volume’.

‘Our message has been all about value and I think we’ve now squarely got to say that there’s a premium to be paid for Australia,’ Paul Henry of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) said.

Wine Australia: Directions to 2025 aims to produce AU$30bn of both domestic and export wine sales between now and 2010/11, AU$4bn more than predicted.

Higher profits will be achieved by encouraging wine consumers to trade up to higher price points, thus enhancing Australia’s status.

‘Australia has promoted its wine in a generic sense in the past, as Brand Australia’ Kevin McLintock, chair of the 2025 task force said. ‘Now is the time to get out there and promote our regionally distinct fine wines.’

Directions to 2025 identifies 46 separate strategies, and complements an online Information Resource Kit for producers which includes benchmarking guides, financial ready reckoners, information about major markets and an international consumer trends report.

It is a joint initiative of the AWBC and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and took nearly 18 months to put together.

The development process was overseen by a 17-member task force drawn from all sectors of the wine industry and chaired by McLintock, deputy chairman of McWilliams Wines.

‘Directions to 2025 is not an assessment of how we are performing. It’s a business analysis of the best way we can structure our national industry,’ said McLintock. ‘The key is growth in sales by value in real terms.’

The initiative builds on the 1996 landmark document, Strategy 2025, whose adoption propelled the wine industry to new heights. It was so successful that the wine industry achieved many of its sales and infrastructure goals by 2005, two decades early.

‘One of the things we learned from Strategy 2025 is that we need to focus on extracting benefits and building margins from our existing assets,’ said Stephen Strachan, the WFA’s CEO. ‘This is not about more volume or vineyards.’

Instead, Australian wine will be promoted using four sub-brands: Brand Champions, Regional Heroes, Generation Next and Landmark Australia.

‘It will be a question of launching trade, press and consumer tastings and through using wine ambassadors who can tell the fine wine story,’ Henry said.

Written by Felicity Carter