SOME of Australia's oldest family-owned wine companies will lead their first trade mission to China and Hong Kong next year, promoting their multi-generational ownership and history to a region that venerates family and tradition.
The new chairman of Australia's First Families of Wine, Mitchell Taylor, said he would be dividing his attention between Australia and China during his tenure at the close-knit wine body, as well as fighting proposals from some health officials to impose a volume tax on wine.
The trade mission to China will take AFFW representatives to five cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, meeting with government officials, wine writers and consumers.
''China has long been identified as a market with great potential for Australian wine,'' said Mr Taylor, the third-generation Taylors Wine managing director.
''To have the greatest impact our industry needs to speak with a unified voice in China. I see this as an important objective for Australia's First Families of Wine.''
Formed in 2009, AFFW brought together 12 family-owned wineries to help counter the damage wrought on the industry at the time by the collapse of managed investment schemes.
The families were also keen to lead a public campaign to highlight the quality and diversity of Australian wine against a backdrop of cheap wines flooding local and international markets.
Its members include brands such as Brown Brothers, Henschke, Yalumba, De Bortoli and Tyrrell's, and represent 16 Australian wine growing regions across four states.
Mr Taylor said Australia's ranking as the No.2 imported wine in China made it a key market, and his group's long history of family ownership, with some wineries in the same family for more than 120 years, was a major attribute when talking to local shoppers and government.
''There is a lot of respect from the Chinese for family values and tradition, it is extremely important when you are in China, and we see these events as not only a positive for the 12 members of AFFW but also very positive for the image of Australian wine.''
Previously, AFFW has led trade missions to England, Canada and Ireland and has held a number of local tastings that showcase the wines owned by family members.
Mr Taylor said he was concerned about a recent proposal by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency to tax alcohol by volume, a move which would particularly punish Australian producers, which are already heavily taxed.
''The wine industry is very different to other alcohol beverage industries, we have long time cycles, we are a rural business and we are a manufacturing business that has very long time leads with the amount of working capital we invest.''
Vineyards top of Treasury's list
TREASURY WINE ESTATES is on the acquisition trail for luxury vineyards to fill its stable of premium wines, as it chases better investment returns.
As part of an analyst conference yesterday, Treasury mapped out its objectives, which will see the former wine arm of Foster's focus on luxury wines and other wines priced at the upper end of the market, which it calls ''masstige''.
This will include buying vineyards if they become available.
The plans form part of an strategy called ''project uplift'' and covers the company's portfolio of brands as well as supply arrangements and sourcing.
Analysts were also told that the fundamentals of the wine category remained strong with global supply heading towards balance. This year's Australian vintage was favourably influenced by the weather, driving strong uplift in luxury and masstige wine volumes from 2014.