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Aussie Vino’s Big Sipper: Battling the Wrath of China’s Steep Tariffs

G’day from down under, mates! So, here’s the juice. Our Aussie winemakers? They’re in a real pickle. Picture this: they’ve got enough wine stashed away to fill, get this, 859 Olympic-sized pools! Blimey! That’s a whopping two billion litres or, if you fancy the bottle count, over 2.8 million of ’em. Rabobank’s latest chit-chat says so.

Pia Piggott, this sharp brain from RaboResearch, points out that this wine mountain is seriously bringing the dollar figures down, especially for those lovely reds. And you might wonder, “Why the heck do we have so much wine?” Well, let’s rewind a bit.

Last year, things went a bit pear-shaped with our biggest trading mate, China. It all kicked off when we, the Aussies, poked the bear by wanting to dig into how COVID started. And China? Not too chuffed about it. They slapped some heavy-duty tariffs on our wines and barley. Ouch!

These barriers? Massive blow! Our wine sales to China took a nosedive, dropping from a golden era of A$1.2 billion to a mere A$8.1 million. Can you imagine? It’s like having a pouch and suddenly realizing your baby kangaroo’s gone missing! Lee McLean, the head honcho at Australian Grape & Wine, chipped in, “No other market has the magic of China.” Especially with their love affair with red wine.

Now, sure, we could try wining and dining other places like the UK, Europe, the US, or even parts of Asia. But it’s not a walk in the park. These things take time, as McLean says.

Bright side? China’s back in the game, buying our coal and timber after things cooled down a tad with the Labor party taking the reins here. And with the tariffs on barley gone, our fingers are crossed for our wines.

Yet, if you think we’re out of the woods, think again. Piggott reckons even if China gets thirsty for our wine again, we’ve still got a couple of years of dealing with this overstock. It’s been a rough patch – first with the virus, then all the shipping hiccups, and now inflation. It’s like Mother Nature threw us a curveball!

To give you the big picture, our wine exports dipped by 10% to A$1.87 billion and even Treasury Wine Estates, the big kahuna of winemakers, felt the pinch with their profits dwindling.

The silver lining? All of this means top-shelf reds are now easier on the wallet for us locals. McLean’s got a shoutout for all you wine lovers: “Next time you fancy a bottle, make it Aussie!” So, mates, cheers to that! 🍷

($1 roughly equals 1.5613 Aussie dollars. For those keeping score at home!)

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