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May 30, 2022 View:

Australian winery boycotted for having two Hong Kong directors

Seeing the rift in Sino-Australian relations and the gradual loss of Australian products to the Chinese market, some Australians are venting their discontent on wineries with Chinese background. Following a list of so-called Chinese-owned wineries circulating on social media, another Australian winemaker reluctantly said that his winery was boycotted on Australian soil because of two directors from Hong Kong.

Image from: Observer.com

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Dec. 15 that a number of Australian winemakers have accused the unfair publicity over a list of Chinese-owned wineries circulating on the Internet, saying it has led to online violence and even the cancellation of orders from their own wineries in their home countries.

According to the report, a variety of lists of China-linked brewers and brands are currently circulating on Australian social media, along with texts encouraging consumers to boycott these manufacturers.

Warrick Duthy, general manager of South Australia"s Kilikanoon Wines, says his staff have been affected. My staff, receptionists and cellar workers have all received phone calls, been asked questions and been verbally abused.

An order for a high-end wine tour experience was also canceled, Dusi said, with clients claiming they were unwilling to support a Chinese-owned business.

The Grenoble winery is a partner with China's Zhang Yu Wines. Ducey himself is vice president of the Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association. He said the Australian shareholders of Grenache had looked for investors who could help the company enter new markets, helping his business as well as others in Riverland, the South Australian wine region.

This has made the region richer and allowed Chateau Guinot to make more money in China, until recently, Dusi said.

Bill Sneddon from Allandale Winery in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, said the anti-China propaganda would ultimately hurt local Australian businesses.

Sneddon's winery was targeted because the company included two directors from Hong Kong, China, one of whom held a British passport and the other had family in Australia.

Sneinton said the money earned from the winery goes into the company's operations, not to the two Hong Kong directors. We employ 15-16 local people and we source almost entirely from Australian companies, buying grapes from farmers in the Hunter Valley and elsewhere in New South Wales.

Sneddon said a customer had contacted him to say she didn't want to buy wine from a non-Australian-owned business. But he disputed that statement because many of the products people use on a daily basis are supplied by overseas companies, I pointed out, and she drives, lives in, and most of the building products (are) too many to mention.

A Facebook account called Vino e Amigos shared a list of supposedly Chinese-owned wineries on Dec. 2, listing 41 wineries, mostly in South Australia and Victoria, but the accuracy of the list has not been confirmed, according to a Dec. 10 report on the Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Chinese website. In another post on December 3, the account continued to stir up trouble, claiming that it didn't care about red and white wine, as long as it wasn't Chinese-owned.

The post in question was shared more than 1,100 times on Facebook, with some Australian netizens surprised by the number of wineries with Chinese-owned backgrounds, the report said. Other netizens demanded that the wineries be kicked out of Australia. As of noon on Dec. 10, the post had been hidden by the original author.

Wine writer and consultant Rob Geddes, who has extensive experience of working in China, admits that the US and France probably have a bigger stake in Australian wineries. In his opinion, the list of Chinese-owned wineries circulating on the Internet is inaccurate, with only 32 wineries actually operating as legitimate companies, and nine under different trademarks of the same company.

Geddes is concerned about this furore on social media and the wine export trade to China, and he would like to see better communication with the Chinese side to address these issues.

China previously took a hand in managing the dumping problem of Australian wine imports, deciding to impose temporary anti-dumping measures on the above products in the form of margin from November 28, the rate of which will fluctuate between 107.1% and 212.1%.

Geddes said that given the cost, Chinese importers are giving priority to importing wines from other countries, and the situation is so dire that we are caught in a spiral of short-term benefits.

China is Australia's largest wine export market, accounting for about 37 percent of Australian wine exports. Tony Battaglene, chief executive of the Australian Grape and Wine Association, told SBS that small wineries that rely entirely on Chinese business could be at risk of closure under high tariffs and they are likely to go out of business In Australia, we have about 1400 such exporters.