Growing concern over duopoly’s wine interest

Wine producers across the country are becoming increasingly concerned over the supermarket giants’ growing interest in the wine market.

Earlier this week there were reports that Woolworths has registered interest in the collapsed Barossa Estate Winery, and now Western Australian wine producers are fighting the supermarkets’ plans to open liquor stores in the heart of Margaret River.

Wine Industry Association of WA general manager, Aymee Mastaglia, told thewest.com.au that competition between Coles and Woolworths would drive prices down and overpower cellar doors and independent retailers.

Mastaglia said supermarkets often buy wine in bulk from wineries and bottle them in such a way that they look like they’ve been produced by boutique wineries when in fact they’re private label products.

"Even if consumers want to support local business, they often don't realise they are buying the supermarket's private labels," she said.

However, representatives from both supermarket chains said their liquor outlets would increase choice for consumers and support the local wine industry.

It’s a different story in South Australia, however, with the state government considering allowing the duopoly to sell wine, albeit on a limited basis.

While independent retailers have argued against such changes, Attorney-General John Rau said selling wine in supermarkets would match the state’s European-style culture, which places special attention on food and wine.

The government’s proposal would see wine makers sell their products directly from supermarkets, and would not include the sale of any other alcohol product, such as beer, spirits, casked wine or fortified wine.


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