New R&D promised for Australian wine industry

A new government authority began operations last month to maximise efficiency and productivity within the Australian wine industry.

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA), commenced operation on July 1 2014 and will support the wine industry with export regulation, research and development (R&D) and centralised marketing.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce believes the wine industry should benefit from this new organisation as it maximises both financial investment and returns for growers, producers and exporters. The AGWA’s 2014-15 budget is $34.7 million.

“AGWA has an important role in enhancing the profitability and sustainability of the wine sector to create real returns at the farmgate and cellar door,” explained Mr Joyce.

“I expect they will work closely with wine grape growers, wine producers and exporters to identify and maximise areas where the financial investment can leverage best returns.”

Research and development will directly benefit from this funding with the Commonwealth set to provide a further $11.5 million in matching funds. AGWA also gets R&D revenue from levies on the winegrape crush held every year.

Those interested in jobs in the wine industry should take note of the four current R&D projects the AGWA is involved in, which are environment and sustainability; consumers and market; improving products and processes; and extension and adoption.

The AGWA will be based in Adelaide and work closely with the Wine Grape Growers Australia and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. The new organisation was set up through legislation passed in parliament near the end of 2013 and replaced the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and the Wine Australia Corporation.

The interim acting Board of Directors has been appointed for an initial three-month period. Final arrangements for the Board will be announced after the selection process has been completed.