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COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the global economy, the effects of which have been felt across every industry, and the winemaking industry is no exception. Chief Executive of the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA), Brian Smedley, said that 2020 was “one of the most disruptive years in recent history for South Australia’s wine industry.” Last year began with catastrophic bushfires after a long savage dry period which unfortunately translated to poor vintage conditions. Alongside the COVID pandemic and strained China-Australia relations, 2020 was a testing year for winemakers and a reminder of how politics and climate change impact the industry. However, resilient Australian winemakers, wineries and cellar doors are adept at using difficult times to adapt, innovate and diversify to survive, and that’s exactly what they are doing. These unprecedented times may have hurt the resurgent AU$2 billion export industry, but growers are mitigating risk by pruning later, switching varietals and looking for buyers in smaller markets. The saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” comes to mind. In response to the current climate, Australian Grape & Wine, along with Wine Australia developed a 30-year plan called Vison 2050, to drive the industry back to success and deliver Australian wine into homes worldwide. The plan looks set to secure Australia’s place on the global stage as a premium wine producer.

While winemakers were getting a firm grip on business, the COVID-19 pandemic was creating havoc for logistics companies trying to export wine around the world. The number of scheduled flights was slashed, aeroplanes were grounded, and sea freight containers left unloaded and waiting in line at heavily congested ports. This time awarded Avion International Freight Forwarders a chance to stand out from the multitude of other logistics companies. Avion Australia capitalised on their extensive global network to import and export wine and service clients worldwide. Avion Australia Managing Director, Marco Viglietta said that the companies “ability to maintain temperature control during transportation from cellars in countries such as Italy, to unpacking depots in Australia is a seamless process.”

It’s All About Control.

Avion International provides temperature-controlled logistics services to small, medium and large cellars across Italy, transporting shipments on the fastest sea freight service from La Spezia Port to Australia every week. FCL’s or consolidated container shipments of wine are maintained at 15 degrees Celsius along the entire door-to-door supply chain. Shipped wine is carefully unpacked in a temperature-controlled environment and transferred to a nominated specialist beverage logistics vehicle or delivered directly to the client’s warehouse without compromising the cold chain. Avion International is passionate about supporting small business; the company offers flexible services to small-medium-sized companies wanting to export one carton, one pallet or several pallets of wine in a temperature-controlled environment. Despite the pandemic, changes in the global economy and consumer buying behaviour, the demand for quality wine and spirits from Europe remains high and Avion International is dedicated to satisfying this demand.

The viability of the cold-chain is of paramount importance in wine logistics, and Avion’s experience has earned the company respect and loyalty across the industry. Avion International and Avion Australia offer specialist wine export logistics services to winemakers and cellars around the world.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.

A top export destination for Australian wine, China accounted for 39% of total wine exports in the 12 months ending Sept 2020. In Nov 2020, Chinese authorities imposed preliminary tariffs of 107.1% to 212.1% on Australian wine, all but halting trade with wine exports plummeting by 95%. China’s Ministry of Commerce then slugged Australian wine with a second round of tariffs in Dec 2020, of which CEO of Grape & Wine Tony Battaglene said that “It’s unlikely that they’ll have any practical implication given the current tariffs are so high.” This was a sentiment shared industry-wide.

Despite the growing trend for using wine tariffs as a political tool, Chinas aggressive posturing has led Australia to look at wider markets such as Korea, Japan, the US, the UK and India. With Australian winemakers forced to think outside the box and look at a much broader picture, Avion International is in the fortunate position to offer their services across the whole industry due to their massive global reach. With offices in nearly every continent, Avion’s vast network works collaboratively to navigate cultural and political differences delivering wine to destinations around the world.