Naked Wines Australia Announces $5 Million Rescue Fund For Independent Aussie Winemakers Impacted By China Tariffs
Naked Wines, the world’s fastest-growing direct wine-to-consumer business, today announced an AUD $5 Million Rescue Fund and a number of public commitments to help support quality Australian independent winemakers who are set totake the hardest hit from China’s sudden and hefty wine tariff hikes.
The company, which connects Australia’s best independent winemakers to more than 100,000 Australian wine drinkers, called on winemakers, retailers and consumers to unite to ‘Stop the Squeeze’ on Australia’s independent winemaking community, and announced a new fund and commitments to support quality local independent winemakers and growers.
Managing Director of Naked Wines Australia, Alicia Kennedy said around 15 per cent of Naked Wines’ local independent winemakers – plus a much larger ecosystem of growers, bottlers, employees and community – would be affected by China’s tariff hikes, with Australia’s independent winemakers likely to be the most impacted yet least resourced to endure the struggles ahead.
“With the China tariffs story quickly developing, we are hearing first-hand from Naked’s community – and other winemakers around Australia – about the potentially crippling challenges they are facing,” Kennedy said.
“Australia’s independent winemakers have been caught between a rock and a hard place with the sudden tariff hikes of up to 212 per centon top of an already tough year. The reality is that winemakers reliant on traditional channels are going to suffer the most over the next 12 to 18 months.
“For the smaller winemakers and grape growers, there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty around their future; they have committed to vintage and invested upfront, and they’re understandably very concerned they’ll be driven to the wall by retailers dropping or bartering down their contracts to take advantage of cheaper sources. Unfortunately for some, this is already happening.
“Unlike the bigger winemakers, many of Australia’s independent winemakers don’t have the balance sheets needed to pay the tariffs or to hold their wine in storage for future years when there will be less flowback supply into the market. This will place deflationary pressure on the prices of their grapes and wine – taking advantage of their vulnerability and leaving them holding wine and fruit from dropped contracts and commitments.
“There is a very real danger that many local winemakers will become collateral damage in this situation and be left without a leg to stand on. As an industry and as a nation, we need to band together now to ‘Stop the Squeeze’ on Australia’s wonderful community of independent winemakers – a large portion of whom exist in heartland regional Australia,” Kennedy said.
‘Stop the Squeeze’ – in Focus
Naked Wines Australia launched ‘Stop the Squeeze’ with three key commitments designed to support quality Australian independent winemakers and positively influence Australia’s wine industry and market at large:
- Certainty for winemakers: A public pledge to honour commitments made to all of its independent Australian winemakers. Naked Wines Australia willnot drop contracts with its winemakers and their growers to take advantage of cheaper sources.
- Fair prices for all-A public pledge to continueitscommitment to delivering fair prices to winemakers and customers so that everybody wins. This principlehas beencentral to Naked Wines’ unique business model since the company was founded.
- A $5 Million Rescue Fund– To support talented Australian independent winemakers feeling the grip of the recent tariff hike. This fund will offer its winemakers a new home to sell their best wines at a fair price, with direct connection to Naked Wines’ network of more than 100,000 local and over 750,000 global customers.
Alicia Kennedy said of the fund: “I encourage all independent winemakers looking for either long-term relationships or one-off support to apply and join a community that offers Australia’s best independent winemakers a direct connection to everyday wine drinkers – so they can spend time making their wines taste delicious, rather than worrying about selling them.”
Winemakers can go to www.nakedwines.com.au/stopthesqueeze to apply to the fund and must meet the following criteria to be considered:
- Be an independent wine producer or winemaker
- Display a proven track record of quality
- Show evidence of the impact China’s wine tariffs have had
- Clear any importer/agent exclusivity arrangements first
Everyday wine drinkers can also get behind the cause by purchasing and enjoying the quality wines of Australia’s best independent winemakers, many of which are sold direct from winemaker to customer at fair prices via Naked Wines.
“We want everyone that has influence or has benefited from this amazing Australian industry to help protect the livelihoods and communities of our nation’s most talented independent winemakers,” Kennedy concluded.