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Australia prepared to lose no 1 spot

Published:  23 July, 2008

Leading figures in Australia have claimed its position as the UK market leader by volume and volume is not sustainable and is detrimental to its wine industry

Industry bodies hope its supply shortfall will mean there is less pressure on producers to discount their wines and increase average prices even if this means losing market share.

Stephen Strachan, chief executive of the Winemakers' Federation of Australia, told Harpers: "I don't think Australia should defend our 24% market share. A lot of that 24% isn't sustainable. It's prestigious to be number one but if the cost of that is the grower at the bottom of the chain loses out. "

Wine Australia's Paul Henry, general manager market development, said: " It's not necessary for us to be number one by volume or value. We shouldn't just fight for market share we want to be seen as the most dynamic category."

He added that predicted price rises would test the category. "The next six months will show us if we have built a true consumer loyalty or just a loyalty to a price point," he said.

Despite continued drought and short harvests, Australian's UK market share increased in 2007 to 22.5% by volume and 24.2% by value.