Growing Our Exports

India Future Focus – Collaboration the key to building Australia and India wine trade

Australian Grape & Wine is undertaking a long-term strategy to grow the wine category in India to support building the market. This includes a series of initiatives focused on collaborative technical and regulatory cooperation to grow the market, remove trade barriers and improve access. This project is led by Australian Grape & Wine, supported by Australian government funding through the ATMAC program and is being run in collaboration with AWRI (Technical), Wine Australia (Regulatory and Marketing) and Austrade (Resourcing & Food and Wine Marketing). The project builds on the outcomes of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).

Key to developing the wine market for Australian exports are:

  • Building trust and relations with Indian wine sector to use our technical, regulatory and marketing expertise and collaboratively build wine as a category in India.
  • A strong collaborative relation improves our ability to advocate for policy, technical and regulatory improvements as well as supporting advocacy.
  • Expanding government to government relations with the aim of building regulatory and technical cooperation that builds on the AI-ECTA side letter on Trade and Production of Wine .

Following initial engagement with the Indian industry bodies and establishment of mutual priorities, the first activity under the project was to initiate direct industry engagement, and highlight the Australian wine sectors strong regulatory and technical capabilities to the Indian government via a delegation of Indian industry and government to Australia. The visit was aligned with the Australian Wine Technical Conference 26-29 June 2022. This presented an opportunity to introduce a large number of Australian wine sector participants in one place, allowed us to leverage some pre-arranged venues and activities and importantly, highlight our technical proficiency at Australian wines largest conference.

Australian Grape & Wine established a program for the largest and most influential Indian wine producers to attend over the week of the technical conference and concurrently the Australian Government engaged high level regulatory counterparts from The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Indian standards body equivalent to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), to also attend.

The following brief summarises the key activities, discussions and outcomes of the delegations and consideration of next steps.

Monday 27 June 2022 (Tech Conference Day 1)

Delegates from both government and industry arrived on differing days with industry delegates scheduled to attend the technical conference from Monday to Wednesday, a Barossa regional visit on Thursday and a technical tour of AWRI on Friday. Government delegates were arriving in Adelaide on Monday attending part of the conference, undertaking regional visits on Monday & Tuesday before continuing on to Canberra and Melbourne from Tuesday evening.

Joint Industry and Government meeting – At the Monday lunch break of the technical conference the first official meeting was held to kick off the delegation and introduce the delegates. Tony Battaglene from Australian Grape & Wine welcomed the delegates and gave a brief introduction on the Australian wine sector and our strong intentions to work with India. Rachel Triggs from Wine Australia provided a brief overview of Australian Wine regulatory environment, and our technical capabilities were also noted with Eric Wilks of AWRI in attendance.

The FSSAI CEO was given an opportunity to say some words, noting the positive intention to work collaboratively with Australia in technical and regulatory space and the relatively small portion of wine production and consumption in India particularly in comparison to other beverage and within the broader alcohol categories. FSSAI expressed a strong desire to improve trade and customs processes and noted interest in digital solutions as collaborative opportunities.

They were also very interested in engaging regulator to regulator with Wine Australia as well as with AWRI for technical and scientific input. Business cards, gifts and photos were exchanged, and delegates were invited to continue discussions in a more social setting later on that evening at the joint delegation dinner.

Joint Industry Dinner Adelaide Oval Bespoke Wine Bar and Restaurant – The joint delegation dinner presented an opportunity to engage in a more relaxed social setting with around 20 attendees from Australian Grape & Wine, its Chairman, Vice Chairs and Industry Board members, Wine Australia, Austrade, Department of Agriculture Water and Environment (DAWE) and the Indian industry and government delegates. This provided an opportunity to highlight Australian wines to the delegates, extend our hospitality and good will, taste and discuss Indian wine styles with some examples shared during the dinner by our Indian industry colleagues, and further discuss opportunities for government regulatory cooperation.

Tuesday 28 June 2022 (Tech Conference Day 2 & Penfolds Magill Estate)

The Indian Industry delegates were left to attend the Technical Conference trade show and plenary sessions throughout the day at their own pace and were invited to Australian Grape & Wines Member networking event later in the evening.

The Indian Government delegates took a trip to Penfolds Magill Estate for a tour of the facilities and a tasting, accompanied by Australian Grape & Wine and DAWE. This was followed by a tour of Adelaide Oval before the Government delegation flew out for Canberra later that evening. For the remainder of their time in Australia the Indian Government delegation met with a number of Australian Government Departments including FSANZ and the Department of Health to continue discussions on opportunities to work collaboratively. At the conclusion of their trip on 30 June 2022, the FSSAI and the Australian Department of Agriculture Water and Environment signed a joint statement signalling their strong mutual intent to continue to work to collaboratively across a range of areas.  

Wednesday 29 June 2022 (Tech Conference Day 3)

Indian Industry delegates were left to attend and engage in the technical conference trade show and plenary sessions throughout the day or attend meetings with Australian wine industry and suppliers at their discretion.

Thursday 30 June 2022 (Barossa Regional Visit)

The industry delegates accompanied by Australian Grape & Wine, undertook a regional visit of the Barossa visiting Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Rowland Flat Winery and Packaging Facility, St Hugos for lunch, Treasury Wine Estates – Barossa Winery & Packaging Facility, concluding at the Barossa Cellar to meet James March, CEO of Barossa Australia and Louisa Rose, Yalumba Head Winemaker and Chair of the Barons of Barossa.

The delegates were highly engaged throughout the tours and highlighted the breadth of knowledge across wine production and packaging. There were discussions of the differences in costs of supplies, equipment labour, taxation and government supports as well as technical packaging and operational questions in understanding the difference between how our sectors operate. Some key discussions throughout the day included:

  • It was made clear that the wine production and packaging facilities being visited during this trip (while not the largest in Australia) were at the larger end of town and that Barossa and Australian wine sector more broadly includes a more diverse range of small and medium family-owned businesses.
  • There was particular interest in Sparkling wines and also innovative wine products ranges including wine-based beverages, RTD’s, spirits and other less traditional wines as this was the focus of some of the Indian producers business.
  • Discussion on Indian consumer preferences with Sparkling wine, wines that are light, fresh, unique and particularly sweet wine and wine beverages appearing to currently hold some interest with certain segments on Indian consumers.
  • Being a topic of some focus earlier in the week at the Technical conference, the perception of No & Low alcohol wines in India was also a topic which was discussed with differing views provided by the Indian delegation. Some suggested that Indian alcohol consumers, accustomed to higher alcohol spirits and beer already considered traditional wine as a lower alcohol alternative and that no alcohol wines may not be able to compete with a consumer preference for sweeter juice, soft drink and other beverages in India.
  • Automation of winery and packaging operations was a big topic of discussion as some of the Indian wine sector had been considering a number of business changes for opportunities to improve efficiencies, reduce manual intervention, improved safety and reduce cost at scale.  
  • Worker health and safety was an overall discussion of the day, ranging from clearly visible and labelled spill kits, walkway markings, non-slip surfaces, cleaning procedures and general safety procedures and equipment for staff.

To end the regional visit, the delegation then travelled to Barossa Cellar to conclude the trip with a meeting with James March, CEO of Barossa Grape and Wine and Louisa Rose, Yalumba head winemaker and Chair of Barons of Barossa. James and Louisa detailed the history of Barossa Cellar and its contents and explained some of the unique characteristics of Australian wine and the Barossa. 

Friday 1 July 2022 (AWRI Technical Tour)

The Indian Industry delegation visited the AWRI wait campus on Friday to further build on our efforts to highlight Australian wines technical proficiency and our strong focus on building up the Indian wine sector through technical understanding and exchange. The delegates were given a tour of AWRI and were highly engaged in building their understanding of our technical capabilities. Identification of particular sensory compounds and the technical and laboratory capacity of AWRI formed a major interest. Our intentions to support joint R&D opportunities, work collaboratively between industries and support any technical understanding was reiterated at the close.

A number of the Indian wine industry delegates stayed on into the following week to explore other Australian wine regions and engage further with a number of business contacts they had made throughout the week.

Overall the delegations were considered to be highly successful initiation for our engagement with India and concluded with a lot of good will to work together for our mutual benefit.  The next stage of the Australian Grape & Wine project will involve a return delegation of Australian Grape & Wine, Wine Australia and AWRI to India to build on this initial engagement. The timing, details and actions of this delegation will be developed with the Indian industry, Australian agricultural counsellor, Austrade and Wine Australia.

A special thanks to our Australian wine sector members for ensuring the delegations was a success through their very generous support during the week, including:

  • Pernod Ricard Winemakers and their team for their gracious hospitality over Thursdays regional visits
  • Treasury Wine Estates and their team for a very well received tasting at Penfolds Magill and a tour of the TWE Barossa facilities.
  • James March, Barossa Grape and Wine and Luisa Rose for their engagement at the Barossa Cellar
  • Australian Grape & Wine, Chairman John Hart and Board members

Finally thanks to our Indian industry colleagues from Grover Zampa Vineyards Ltd, Good Drop Wine Cellars Pvt Ltd, Sula Vineyards Ltd and Fratelli Wines Private Limited as well as the Indian Government Representatives from FSSAI and Australian Government. 

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