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Growth Cycles in the Australian Wine Industry since the 1840s: What Next?

  • Topic: Growth Cycles in the Australian Wine Industry since the 1840s: What Next?
  • Speaker:

    Professor Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide

  • Venue:E4A - 623
  • Time: 3.00pm - 4.30pm


"For two decades from the late 1980s, Australia emerged spectacularly onto the international wine stage and enjoyed the longest boom in its two-century history. Its share of world wine exports grew from almost zero to 10%, and its index of comparative advantage (wine's share of national exports relative to wine's share of global merchandise trade) rose from well below one to ten. In the past there have been two previous export booms, and two domestically driven ones, but all were followed by long plateaus or slumps. Then a perfect storm of shocks hit the Australian industry, including a decade-long, mining-induced appreciation of the Australian dollar, which has more than halved its index of comparative advantage in wine.

What can history tell us about how prolonged the current slump might be? This seminar will draw on a new database of 170 years of industry and macroeconomic data (summarized in a free ebook available at to begin to address questions such as the following:

  • Was the industry's optimism at the start of the latest boom warranted?
  • How exceptional was the latest export growth spurt?
  • What did R&D and generic marketing contribute?
  • Why such a sharp decline in profits and yet sluggish disinvestment in the past decade?
  • In retrospect, was the industry helped by government assistance/protectionism?
  • Which regions have adjusted most since the latest downturn?
  • What is happening to Australia's varietal distinctiveness across its regions, and nationally relative to the rest of the world?
  • What are the market prospects for the next decade?
  • What institutional and policy reforms would help to put the industry onto a more-sustainable growth path?"

Kym Anderson is Australia's leading wine economist. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide, and heads the University's Wine Economics Research Centre. His interests cover all aspects of the economics of wine, including production, distribution, marketing and consumption.


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