Retailers and suppliers have expressed concerns that the country could struggle to maintain higher price points due to harvest conditions in many regions.
Clem Yates MW, sourcing and supply director at Off-Piste Wines, warned that oversupply could see Australia filling retailers’ requirement for wines below £5.
Dan Jago, Tesco’s UK and group wine director, agreed and added that New Zealand could also be hit by the same pricing problems.
He said: “Australia and New Zealand are faced with the real possibility of returning to the same scenario as 2008 if they’re not careful as both have a lot of wine to sell.
“Though they might not want to pursue a low price strategy in the UK, this is one of the only markets that can absorb the kind of volume available because neither countries are sufficiently established in other markets, like the US, and the wine has to go somewhere.”
Paul Schaafsma, general manager for the UK, Ireland and global partners at Accolade Wines, said it would not be affected as its supply agreements, which include large own-label contracts with Tesco and Morrisons, plus its management of the harvest will ensure production remains in balance with demand.
He said: “Australia has had a solid vintage and we are pleased as we have managed to achieve equilibrium with supply and demand. But there are a few companies out there with wine to sell.”
Earlier this month, Neil McGuigan, chief executive of Australian Vintage, said frosts in some regions had led to a shorter harvest, which would put prices up in areas including Victoria and New South Wales.
However, another leading supplier said that any shortfalls “would not even scratch the surface” to balance the oversupply elsewhere in the country.