With approximately 2500 wineries spread over 63 different wine regions of Australia, Australia is one of the producer, consumer and exporter of wine in the world. Different grape varietals grown in different parts of the country lend unique characteristics to the wines of that region. Most of these wineries are small and medium scale with only a few being really big. The more exclusive ones are associated in a grouping called First Families of Wines of Australia. Thousands of other wineries operating at smaller scale are called the boutique wineries.
Generally, these sell wines at higher prices than big players of the industry due to their higher costs of wine production. However, Boutique wineries face a lot of problems due to their smaller scale of operation. These challenges relate to their limited range of marketing efforts, investment bottlenecks, shrinking government support and climate change.
Australian wine industry has well developed channel of wine distribution which can be used for sales across the country. Based on commissions, this structure does not leave much in the hands of winery. To cut down on the hierarchy of these channels, some of these wineries also make use of the online marketing channels to directly get the orders from the customers. This, too, requires investments in development of online property and marketing it appropriately to get customers. Most of the boutique wineries do not even have a website of their own. For this reason, these wineries tie-up with online wine marketplaces where people come to buy Australian wines. These marketplaces offer them the respite from investing in online marketing and offer their expertise in digital marketing for promotion and sale of their products.
Technological challenges for boutique wineries not only pertain to the online design and development work but also to the installation of appropriate machinery for viticulture and wine production. Due to financial constraints, these wineries are not able to invest in sustainable, eco-friendly technologies or even in those which can enhance their level of efficiency.
One of the biggest threats to Australian wines is that of change of climate. The small wineries are not in a position to invest in the mitigation technologies which can provide protection for some time. The challenge also pertains to declining in quality of wines and losing of unique characteristics of the region. Declining yields due to warmer climates is another area of concern.