Region’s wineries benefit from renewed China trade

June 20, 2024 BY

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and member for Corangamite Libby Coker visit Flying Brick Cider Co. Photo: ANGUS SMITH

THE region’s wineries are optimistic about the future as Australian wine exports to China surpass $86 million in just one month since tariffs were lifted in May.

Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell heralded the news as a major recovery for the sector, which has struggled with trade disruptions, natural disasters, and a global decline in demand over the past three years.

“More than 350 Australian wine producers and businesses have re-established exports to mainland China since duties were removed,” Mr Farrell said.

“The re-entry of Australian wine into the Chinese market benefits both Australian producers and Chinese consumers.”


The Prime Minister arrives at Flying Brick Cider Co on the Bellarine. (L-R) Anthony Albanese, member for Corangamite Libby Coker and Sharp Group director Lyndsay Sharp. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


Under the Albanese government, the thaw in China-Australia relations continues.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang visited Australia this week to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, where he visited Penfolds Magill Estate before attending bilateral talks where the two leaders agreed to properly manage differences.


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Photo: SUPPLIED


Lyndsay Sharp, director of Sharp Group, which includes Jack Rabbit Vineyard and Flying Brick Cider Co., said the improved relations and lifting of tariffs was good news.

“It’s wonderful news for the Australian wine industry,” Ms Sharp said.

Ms Sharp said the sanctions were part of a perfect storm that had impacted the sector.

“It’s been very challenging for Australian wine regions.”

“Although most of our local wineries are relatively small scale so not in a position to mass export, the bolstered relations and lifting of tariffs could well encourage local producers to consider tackling the Chinese market in some form.”


Prime pour: Flying Brick Cider Co manager Bridget Sharp, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and member for Corangamite Libby Coker. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese serves a cider at Flying Brick Cider Co. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


Chairman and chief executive of Scotchman’s Hill Peter Reilly said while the region wasn’t a huge exporter of wine to the Chinese market, it would still benefit greatly from improved relations.

“The vanishing of that market meant there was a lot more wine in Australia hunting for a home domestically,” Mr Reilly said.

He added that he didn’t expect exports to return to peak levels anytime soon, but even a 50% recovery would be a success.

“It’s good news for the premium end of the market,” he said.


Sharp Group director Lyndsay Sharp (left) introduced Libby Coker and the Prime Minister to some of the crew at Flying Brick Cider Co. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


During a visit to the region last week, where Mr Albanese met with Ms Sharp, the Prime Minister praised the area’s scenic beauty and highlighted the renewed trade opportunities.

“What a beautiful part of the world this is,” Mr Albanese said.

“Australia continues to pursue a stable and direct relationship with China, with dialogue at its core.”

“And overwhelmingly, the impediments that were there to our trade have been removed in recent times and we’re seeing the benefit of that trade through the export of our wine.


Staff from The Sharp Group, including Jack Rabbit Vineyard and Flying Brick Cider, pose with Sharp Group director Lyndsay Sharp, the Prime Minister, and member for Corangamite Libby Coker. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker who accompanied the Prime Minister said the regions 60 plus wine producers would benefit.

“The local wine industry delivers local jobs, substantial tourism visitation and diverse business opportunities and contributes to regional prosperity.”

“Our government’s work to stabilise our relationship with China is paying dividends for our wine regions.”


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