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State government in Victoria boosts support for Australian wine industry

Published:  27 May, 2015

Winemakers in Victoria, Australia, are hoping to receive visits from more overseas buyers in a scheme sponsored by the state government.

The trade push for the wine industry is part of a manifesto commitment by a new Labour administration voted into office last November.

The state's wine industry employs 11,500 people and exports to over 80 countries are worth A$182 million annually.

Damien Sheehan, chair of Wine Victoria, said: "The Victorian government has given a clear sign that they take the Victorian Wine industry seriously."

The programme kicked off this week with a major trade tasting in Melbourne - involving 100 producers - and visits to wineries in several of the state's 21 regions for 150 overseas buyers.

The visits were coordinated by the Victorian government's 18 international trade offices - including one in the UK - and the government has plans for a further five offices in foreign markets as the export push steps up.

Vineyards in Victoria, AustraliaVineyards in Victoria, Australia

Agriculture minister Jaala Pulford told "We're very pleased to have so many influential buyers with us this week. We want people to come to experience the whole journey."

The Australian government has launched a push to support domestic wine production

She said a wine industry ministerial advisory committee would help steer "what kind of things the Victorian government can do to help support the industry".

Pulford added: "We have been very good in the past at sending people overseas on trade missions but we want increase the focus on in-bound trade visits because we feel the opportunities for Victorian business are enhanced by buyers having that experience.

"We have significant destinations for our exports and we are very proud of our product."

She added that the government wanted to boost tourism business for wineries' cellar doors, many of which include high quality restaurants and accommodation.

Around two-thirds of Victorian wineries have cellar doors, and the total of 495 is more than any other Australian state.

They received 1.9 million visitors last year - with the UK one of the principal sources of overseas visitors - and contributed just over A$1 billion to the state economy.