The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
FORMER MINISTER FOR TRADE

crest

Speech

to open the Jacob's Creek Visitors Centre
27 September, 2002

Jacob's Creek Visitors Centre

Introduction

Patrick Ricard, Christian Porter;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my pleasure to open this facility on behalf of the Prime Minister who, unfortunately, was not able to attend today.

As we can all see, this magnificent, state-of-the art facility incorporates cellar door, special wine tasting, food service and office areas.

I congratulate Hassells, the architects, and Orlando Wyndham, the owners, for bringing the best of design - function and form - in showcasing a most successful label - indeed, almost an icon - in Australian wines.

As Trade Minister, I am particularly delighted, because Jacob's Creek is one of Australia's great export successes.

Jacob's Creek has been the most popular Australian wine label overseas for more than a decade, with more than 5.4 million cases sold last year.

Eighty per cent of Jacob's Creek sales are made in 53 export markets.

And it is the number one selling wine brand in the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Scandinavia and Asia.

We see Jacob's Creek wine being sold in supermarkets, pubs and restaurants the world over.

Orlando Wyndham has achieved its success by focusing on building the brand, with a product that combines quality with value for money.

Jacob's Creek has led the charge in Australia's incredible wine export growth.

Australian wine exports have grown by around 24% a year over the last decade. Last year they were worth $2.1 billion, and Australia is now the world's fourth largest wine exporter, with around 7% of world trade.

Our two major markets for wine are the United Kingdom and the United States, which account for 43% and 28% respectively of the total value of Australian wine exports.

Such has been the Australian wine industry's performance that, today, we export more wine that we produced - in total - ten years ago.

And for every bottle of Australian wine exported, roughly speaking, four dollars is returned to Australia.

We can see the benefits of that export success here before us today, in the growth and prosperity so fittingly reflected in this great building.

Challenges for the industry

Success, of course, brings with it new challenges.

Expected increases in grape supply and wine production represent new challenges for the industry - such as creating new demand and additional markets.

Australian wine producers have needed export markets to absorb the growth in production of 8% a year over the last decade.

They have done extraordinarily well to date - however the Australian wine industry faces some crucial barriers to international trade in the effort to expand export markets.

This is an issue which particularly concerns me as Trade Minister.

Recently the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Research Economics (ABARE) released a report, "World wine market: Barriers to increasing trade".

The report found that Australian wine exporters generally face low tariffs in the EU and North America, but high tariffs in Asia and South America.

So-called non-tariff barriers, particularly in the EU, however, are just as important. They may have agreed to reduce tariffs in the 1990s, but they have sought to protect their industry through these non-tariff barriers.

One such barrier is a claim to ownership of generic wine terms - known as traditional expressions - such as 'superior', 'vintage' and 'reserve'.

Other barriers include all sorts of requirements on labels, and discrimination against imported wines made using methods not approved within Europe.

In 2002, the European Union - through domestic support and export subsidies - gave the European wine industry 1.3 billion Euros, or nearly $2.2 billion Australian.

The EU is seeking to regain some of the market share it has lost to "New World" producers, such as Australia, over the last few years.

The best way we can tackle such existing or prospective trade barriers is in the global trade negotiations now underway at the World Trade Organisation.

We have joined other members of the Cairns Group of agriculture exporters in proposing that tariffs be cut to a maximum of 25% for developed countries, that domestic support be cut significantly within 5 years, and that all export subsidies be eliminated.

And we have sought to address the non-tariff barriers I mentioned earlier by signing an agreement on oenological practices - whereby 'new world' producers have accepted one another's winemaking practices.

The same group of producers also is negotiating an agreement on labelling wine.

Our efforts are designed to reduce some of the trade barriers I have described - and thereby help expand markets for Australian exporters, including our wine producers.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we will also be lowering a time capsule into the ground that will be opened in 25 years time, for Jacob's Creek's 50th anniversary.

This visitor centre will still be here - "nicely aged" - by visits of hundreds or thousands of wine lovers from around the world.

They will have come knowing - or at the very least learning - of the success of an iconic brand of Australian wine, synonymous with quality and value for money.

I wish Jacob's Creek every continuing success over the next 25 years.

I trust that it can build on the remarkable success it has already achieved, and that the next generation of wine drinkers will continue to enjoy Jacob's Creek wines.

And on that note, I declare the Jacob's Creek Visitors Centre officially open.


Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 09:59:57 EST