Aus 180x180 - The evolving wine category in Australia

Rodney Sammut, Wine Intelligence Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, takes a look at findings from our most recent Australia Landscapes 2018 report

There is a cautiously optimistic outlook on the current state of the wine category within the Australian wine market, with a CAGR of 1% in the volume of wine sold over the past year (Source: IWSR). Although the evidence shows some category growth, it can be argued that the category is underperforming in comparison to other alcoholic drinks such as gin, beer and other spirits. This can, in part, be attributed to the fact that drinkers aged over 65 years old now account for one-fifth of all regular wine drinkers in Australia, with younger drinkers more likely to seek out these alternative alcoholic options.

The wine industry has always encouraged us to enjoy its abundance of choice, wanting us to constantly discover and experiment all that there is to offer. It seems that our younger wine drinkers are applying the same principle, but across an increasing range of alcoholic categories. The newer cohort of regular wine drinkers, aged 35 or under, are more likely to see the wine category as just one of a broader repertoire of alcoholic drinks that they enjoy. They still qualify as regular wine drinkers and typically drink wine less than once a week, which is less frequently compared with their older counterparts, who are significantly more likely to drink wine several times or more per week.

As the percentage of regular wine drinkers over the age of 65 grows, so too does the popularity of Prosecco in terms of the number of consumers who drink it. Perhaps this continuous rise in popularity could be attributed to the fact that Prosecco is easy to remember, recognise and recall, with an on-premise buyer stating, “People still go with the trends – it’s changed from Champagne to Prosecco in Australia”.

However, this rise in the number of drinkers enjoying Prosecco is not shared with rosé. Although trade experts confirm that sales of rosé have continued to grow, the report finds that this trend may have reached its peak, with the proportion of regular wine drinkers who have consumed rosé plateauing.

aus chart 2 - The evolving wine category in Australia

In addition, there has also been a shift in the overall awareness of Australian wine regions. The top five prominent Australian wine regions including Barossa Valley, Margaret River, Yarra Valley, South Australia and Hunter Valley all show significant declines over the last six years in terms of the number of regular drinkers aware of these regions. On the other hand, the number of regular wine drinkers who are aware of regions in New Zealand and France are increasing, particularly Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, Loire Valley and Cotes du Rhone. However, despite the awareness of these overseas regions, there have not been corresponding increases in the number of wine drinkers from these regions.

aus chart 1 - The evolving wine category in Australia

These paradoxes present us with some interesting challenges as we continue to grow and evolve, but being the wine category, I would not expect anything less.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Wine Intelligence Australia Landscapes 2018 report, please email


Author: Rodney Sammut


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