NEW MARKET: Ewan Macpherson at Symphony Hill Wines has been forced to explore new markets after Chinese officials stopped imports. (Pic Wendy Hughes)
NEW MARKET: Ewan Macpherson at Symphony Hill Wines has been forced to explore new markets after Chinese officials stopped imports. (Pic Wendy Hughes)

Granite Belt wineries at centre of Chinese trade war

GRANITE Belt wineries have been scrambling to find new export markets after some Chinese distributors were forced to cut ties with Australian producers.

An investigation launched by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce sought to expose allegations of ‘dumping’ by local producers into Chinese markets.

At least four Chinese importers have been told to no longer purchase Australian wines.

Symphony Hill Wines owner Ewen Macpherson said the investigations into Australian wine were “ludicrous” and “without basis”.

“Just before COVID hit, we sent two containers to China and it was looking to be regular,” Mr Machperson said.

“But then Chinese New Year didn’t happen and this came along, so there’s been no repeat orders, which is hurting things.

“It’s a significant loss of income based on what’s happening in China and with COVID in general.”

Australia’s wine market is worth $1.26 billion. (Credit: Gourmet Escape's facebook)
Australia’s wine market is worth $1.26 billion. (Credit: Gourmet Escape's facebook)

Australia’s wine export market is reportedly worth $1.26 billion and is the country’s largest foreign market ahead of barley, cotton and cattle.

The breakdown with the strong Chinese market has forced Mr Macpherson to explore other Asian markets.

“We are exploring Singapore at the moment and we’re hoping to get our orders in there,” he said.

“But China has been a fabulous market for us because all they knew was Penfolds.”

While wineries across the Granite Belt have been impacted by the export market loss, the surge in domestic sales has saved some cellar doors.

“Domestic sales have gone up and the region has benefited from people not being able to go overseas or interstate,” he said.

“The more you can keep selling wines through different avenues, the more you’ve got assurity of having an income.

“It’s a whole new world we’re operating in with COVID and the rise of the Chinese regime.”

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