Chapter 13: Australia
Kym Anderson More than 100 years ago it was claimed that ‘Many of the leading wine merchants of London and other important commercial centres admit that Australia promises to become a powerful rival in the world’s markets with the old-established vineyards of Europe’ (Irvine, 1892, p. 6).1 The first Yearbook of Australia made a similar claim in 1908, but by the 1922 edition it added some comments on why that had not happened: The production of wine in Australia has not increased as rapidly as the suitability of soil and climate would appear to warrant. The cause of this is probably twofold . . . Australians are not a wine-drinking people and consequently do not provide a local market for the product, and . . . the new and comparatively unknown wines of Australia find it difficult to establish a footing in the markets of the old world, owing to the competition of well-known brands. Active steps are being taken in various ways to bring the Australian wines under notice, and it may be confidently expected that when their qualities are duly recognised the wine production of this country will exhibit a rapid development. The Australian wine industry is at last fulfilling that earlier promise: since 1990 it has trebled its share of global vine area and raised its share of global export sales fivefold (Figure 13.1) – and that performance has stimulated other New World producers to follow Australia’s example. This chapter explores the ways in which Australia achieved that take-off despite the fact that...
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