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Terroir rising? Varietal and quality distinctiveness of Australia’s wine regions


  • Anderson, Kym


It has been argued that part of the reason Australia was able to contribute to and respond so successfully in the 1990s to the growth in demand for commercial bottled wine was because of its freedom (relative to European producers) to blend wines across the full range of varieties and geographic regions, so as to be able to reproduce year after year a consistent style for each label. Over time, however, that has led some buyers in the ‘Old World’ to believe Australian and other ‘New World’ winemakers do not respect or exploit regional differences in terroir or, worse still, that the ‘New World’ is incapable of making high-quality, regionally distinct wines. This paper examines the changing extent to which Australian wine regions do in fact vary in their choice of winegrape varieties and in the average quality of those winegrapes. In doing so the study provides some new quantitative indexes that may be helpful for other purposes too, such as providing a base for simulating the potential impacts on different regions of climate change and of adaptive responses to it. The study focuses on 30 of Australia’s winegrape regions and on the top 12 red and 10 white winegrape varieties that together accounted in 2006 for all but 7 percent of Australia’s wine. It compares 2006 with 2001, the first year for which price and quantity data were compiled nationally by grape variety for the country’s newly defined Geographical Indication regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Kym, 2009. "Terroir rising? Varietal and quality distinctiveness of Australia’s wine regions," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 48050, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aare09:48050

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
    2. Wood, Danielle & Anderson, Kym, 2006. "What Determines the Future Value of an Icon Wine? New Evidence from Australia," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 141-161, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mauro Vigani & Valentina Raimondi & Alessandro Olper, 2010. "GMO Regulations, International Trade and the Imperialism of Standards," LICOS Discussion Papers 25510, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Kym Anderson & Signe Nelgen & Ernesto Valenzuela & Glyn Wittwer, 2009. "Economic contributions and characteristics of grapes and wine in AustraliaÂ’s wine regions," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2009-01, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
    3. Drogué, Sophie & DeMaria, Federica, 2012. "Pesticide residues and trade, the apple of discord?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 641-649.
    4. Anderson, Kym, 2010. "Varietal Intensities and Similarities of the World's Wine Regions," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 270-309, March.
    5. Drogué, S. & DeMaria, F., 2012. "« Comparing apples with pears. How differences in pesticide residues regulations impact trade? »," Working Papers MOISA 201201, UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro - Montpellier, France.

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    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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