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Surviving & Thriving: Wine Australia Cellar Door and DTC Survey 2021

October 8, 2021

This week Wine Australia released their annual DTC report, “DTC Surviving and Thriving in 2020-21”. They surveyed 123 wineries across Australia to reveal an insight into the state of DTC in the Australian wine industry.

For wineries, the results of the study can help benchmark your winery's success and also areas for improvement. This past year has been particularly challenging for the Australian wine industry with international and intranational borders closing, lockdowns coming and going, and shifts in the international wine market – in particular China. 

But what this report shows is that the wine industry is not just “surviving” but “thriving”.  However, it should be pointed out that respondents only represent about 6 per cent of the Australian wine businesses. Wine Australia states that the sample accounts for about 11 per cent of all wine sales in 2020-21, it’s a small sample but there are still some interesting stats to take note of in our opinion. They even state that the results are “applicable to wineries producing between 50,000 and 500,000 cases” in a year.

Here are some of the stand out statistics:

DTC outperformed other wine sales channels in 2020-21, with 17 per cent overall value growth.

Direct-to-consumer sales in Australia accounted for an average of 18 per cent of a winery’s income – with DTC share increasing as winery production size decreases. The report goes on to say that the DTC share of sales was larger for smaller wineries – something that previous years’ reports also found. 

Cellar door was the largest channel, with a 44 per cent share of DTC sales revenue

Wine club revenue decreased to 19 per cent from 21 per cent, but the cellar door channel was still the winner. Even with the border and lockdown restrictions, visitor numbers only declined by 4 per cent across the year, but that is contrasted by a 23 per cent reduction in the previous year. So cellar door visits were recovering. No doubt, many punters took advantage of travelling to wineries in their own state in between lockdowns as they couldn’t travel overseas. With borders set to reopen in the coming months, hopefully, the trend keeps travelling upwards.

Online sales grew by 23 per cent in value in 2020-21 but the average value declined

Online sales were the real winners when it came to volume of sales, up 44 per cent. According to the report, respondents to the survey made several new investments in their online/digital presence, especially in website redesign/content.

Looking ahead

Wine Australia says “Strategic focus on DTC customer experience identified as key to success” and having a “high-quality and consistent digital presence across their website and social media channels” was of high importance.

You can read the full report here.

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