The value of a networking in the wine business

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Last year, close to two tonnes of grapes were crushed in Australia in order to create just under two tonnes of wine – totalling $5.1 billion in international sales.

It’s obvious that the Australian wine industry is as strong as it’s even been, and shows no signs of slowing down.
As the owner of Symphony Hill, a family run winery, Ewen McPherson has seen competition increase, as more farmers divert their focus to producing wines. However, it’s a challenging industry to stay on top in; as it’s affected by things like harvests, weather, and even international tastes, yet Symphony Hill has managed to thrive throughout the many years it’s been in existence.

Ewen strongly believe that this is at least partly down to networking, and how he has managed to leverage it to their advantage in a unique manner. Here are just some of the networking related activities we’ve relied on in the past:

Networking by sharing ideas

Ewen discovered that keeping oneself isolated is a sure-fire way to limit the growth of a business. In this regard, Symphony Hill are open to sharing and networking with other winemakers on matters involving winemaking techniques for different grape varieties, and different levels of grape qualities, as well as in regards to vinicultural practices. They network with people in their industry to learn, grow together and keep raising the standard. Gone are the days of being in a exclusivity, only one-person per category, community. Ewen thrives of talking, challenging and learning from others in his industry.

Networking through benchmarking

Another area in which Ewen believe’s networking is essential, is when it comes to the quality standards of both the fruit, and its final product as a wine. Collective networking is the only way that a reliable benchmark of quality be created, maintained, and improved upon. Another way in which this is important, is when considering the importance of the export industry. By encouraging wine farmers to be open about their experiences in negotiating exports, it improves the entire industry’s bargaining power and growth potential. An example from our network is Jason Spaull, who is on a mission to make the world safer, through improving standards around Asbestos and bringing people’s awareness to the problems and solutions around removal of asbestos.

Networking by staying up to date with opportunities

To thrive as a wine farmer, you need to keep your ear to the ground for unexpected opportunities to increase your brand value and profits. The best way to do this is by making sure you’re up to date with changes in legislation and available grants, such as those involving research, development, and export assistance, as well as joint marketing opportunities.
The wine industry might be one most people never encounter in a business capacity, but it’s still one that you can learn from when it comes to networking and business growth.


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