Transcript: A video case study on Burch Family Wines

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>>Voiceover: Australia’s award-winning wines are among the best in the world, known for their quality, diversity and value.

Australian wine is increasingly popular with North Asia’s growing middle-class consumers, who are developing a taste for high-end premium products.

Australia’s free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea will see wine tariffs of between 14 to 20 per cent eliminated.

This will open up exciting new opportunities for expansion and job creation for winemakers across the country, including Burch Family Wines.

>>Jeff Burch: I’m Jeff Burch, the CEO of Burch Family Wines, a family wine company in Western Australia.

We have three brands: Mad Fish, Howard Park and Marchand & Burch. And we run a group of vineyards in the Great Southern and Margaret River and two wineries in Western Australia.

We’ve been exporting for 20 years and we currently sell to 22 different countries but we’ve focused very heavily over the last 10 years on Asia – that’s where the growth is, that’s where the future is.

>>Voiceover: Burch Family Wines is already benefitting from the free trade agreements with Korea and Japan. When the Korea Agreement entered into force, the 15 per cent tariff on wine was immediately eliminated.

>>Jeff Burch: The Korean free trade agreement had an impact when it was announced. Suddenly our importer was a lot more receptive, he was talking to us, he was coming down.

We’ve already noticed a 50 per cent increase in sales on the back of the free trade agreement and I think there’s a lot more we can do.

>>Voiceover: Japan is also a growing market for Australian wine. The Japan Agreement will phase out the 15 per cent tariff on bottled wine.

>>Jeff Burch: Japan historically for us was a relatively small market but we’re now seeing much greater interest from larger distributors and trading partners and we are in discussions with them, so we’re very, very encouraged with the development there.

>>Voiceover: Building on its growing success in Japan and Korea, Burch Family Wines is now focusing its attention on another lucrative Asian market with enormous potential.

>>Jeff Burch: The big prize for us is China.

When I’m in China talking to government people and business people who are all very connected to the government, they are seeing the opportunities and moving in a direction to capitalise on those opportunities, and I think that’s very exciting.

>>Voiceover: China is one of Australia’s largest wine export markets. Exports are expected to grow under the China Agreement, as tariffs of up to 20 per cent are phased out. Burch Family Wines is preparing to take full advantage of the agreement.

>>Jeff Burch: We’ve put a lot of resources into the market with our brand ambassador in Beijing, many more trips to China, we’ve invited a lot of the Chinese distributors down to Margaret River and we’re positioning ourselves for the next few years. There’s strong interest in wine in China and there’s a strong need for education and that’s what we’re doing as part of our branding.

The government has created the opportunities but it’s up to the individual businesses to now do the hard yards. The free trade agreement is a fantastic opportunity for Australian businesses to get out there and have a serious go. We’ve now got a level playing field, we’ve got great interest from our trading partners but it’s up to the business community in Australia to get off their backsides and get out there and have a go at it.

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