WA Wine Exports: Building an economic future with China was compiled by the Curtin Economics Centre in consultation with six industry stakeholders and 26 wine producers.
Lead researcher Jeremy Galbreath said the report identified the growing market for Australian wines in China, as well as distribution, packaging, marketing and branding.
“There is a perception that WA’s wine production volume is too small to make any significant penetration into the Chinese market,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.
“Our research, however, determined that there was a definitive market for premium wine in China and that WA was well poised to meet a slice of that demand, providing wine producers consider a few key aspects when exporting their wine.”
He said successful exporters had to be creative in their marketing and branding, as well as being aware of Chinese cultural ideologies with respect to colour preference.
“Producers should also be aware of language differences and how terminology is understood when using descriptors of their wine on labels,” he said.
“This will ensure Chinese consumers understand the messages in the same way.”
The importance of precise marketing and branding of wines was also highlighted, as of WA’s isolation presented additional challenges.
“Outside of some knowledgeable wine consumers, even regions like Margaret River have little global recognition,” he said.
“This needs to change in order for (WA) wine producers to successfully increase exports to China.”
“Recommended actions to address this include engaging industry to create a branding exercise on a regional basis, with the goal of putting WA wines on the global map.”
The report also identified a need for more innovative business models.
“The majority of wine producers in WA are unprofitable,” Professor Galbreat said,“New business models are needed to restore profitability and to secure a sustainable future.
“With the Australian dollar at its lowest point in years, the time to develop partnerships with foreign investors is immediate.”
He said the biggest set back of all was the issue of distribution.
“As there are an estimated 20,000 wine importers in China, the industry really needs to sort out who the best importers and distributors are for WA wine,” Professor Galbreath said.
“Otherwise, many producers will spend far too much time and money trying to gain access to this massive market.
“Without trusted and focused distribution, frustration and failure is likely.”