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Evolving varietal and quality distinctiveness of Australia’s wine regions

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In an ever-more-competitive global market, vignerons compete for the attention of consumers by differentiating their product while responding to technological advances, climate changes and evolving demand patterns. In doing so, they increasingly highlight their regional and varietal distinctiveness. This paper examines the extent to which the mix of winegrape varieties in Australia differs from the rest of the world and differs across wine regions within the country, and how that picture has altered over the first decade of this century. It reports varietal intensity indexes for different regions, indexes of similarity of varietal mix between regions and over time, and quality indexes across regions and varieties within Australia. The study is based mainly on a new global database of vine bearing areas circa 2000 and 2010, supplemented by a more detailed database for Australia back to the 1950s. It reveals that the varietal distinctiveness of Australia vis-à-vis the rest of the world, and varietal differentiation between regions within the country, is far less than for most other countries – a pattern that has become even more pronounced since 2000. It concludes that there is much scope for Australia’s winegrape plantings to become more diversified as producers respond to market and climate changes.
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Keywords: Regional Quality Index; Terroir; Varietal Similarity Index; varietal Intensity Index

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wine Economics Research Centre, School of Economics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Publication date: July 2, 2016

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