The Australian wine industry has made huge gains based on investment in research and development during the past 30-50 years, giving us the edge in a competitive global market. Industry levy and government-funded research has led to knowledge and applications that have enabled significant improvements in grape and wine quality, as well as productivity and yield increases.
In an era of more costly inputs and diminishing returns, and with Australian wine no longer the ‘flavour of the month’ internationally, is it time to shift investment to support marketing efforts that increase the future growth and profitability of the industry? Many winemakers feel the challenging global economic and market forces they now face are more immediate and grave than longer-term environmental threats such as soil salinity and climate change.
On the other hand, the fruit of much labour in R&D is slow to reveal itself – a 20-year time lag between discovery in the lab and application in the field is commonly cited in agricultural science. In some areas this has dropped to as little as six years to meet industry imperatives. An exciting period lies ahead, with many more possibilities evident on the knowledge horizon, but the rising costs of research, funding cuts and a diminution in the perceived value and importance of R&D to the industry are real threats.
Why bother making better wine if we can’t sell it? Can consumers tell the difference between average wine and great wine anyway? Is increasing the marketing spend (especially if it’s at the expense of R&D) a sound investment strategy, or a sign of desperation from an industry under pressure in a world that has become short-sighted, shallow and dollar-driven?
For the affirmative team …
- Professor Pascale Quester Deputy Vice Chancellor & Vice-President (Academic), The University of Adelaide
- Professor Larry Lockshin Pro-Vice Chancellor, Strategic Coordination, Professor of Wine Marketing and Head of the School of Marketing, University of SA
- Dr Roberta Veale Program Director – Wine Business The Business School, Marketing, Faculty of the Professions, The University of Adelaide
For the negative team …
- Dr Chris Curtin Research Manager, Biosciences Australian Wine Research Institute
- Associate Professor Chris Ford School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide
- Dr Mike McCarthy Principal Scientist SARDI
Will you be for or against?
Date: Thursday 17 October 2013 Time: 6.00pm (for a 6.30pm start) to 8.30pm
Place: Lirra Lirra Café, McLeod House, Waite Road, Waite Campus, Urrbrae Finger food and cash bar provided
Event is free. Please register at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/wri/events/debate/