Small Australian Wineries: Surviving or Thriving?
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
The Australian wine industry is dominated by small wineries and has experienced a large number of new entrants over the past ten years. With greater competition the importance of exports and wine tourism has increased, suggesting that business and management skills will be critical to the survival and prosperity of individual wineries. This paper identifies the key management skills in running a successful winery business and explores the existence of these skills within the industry, based on factors including motivation to enter the industry, size, markets and backgrounds of the winery owners. Information was obtained through interviews with owners and managers of small wineries in the four main wine regions of Western Australia. Whilst a set of universal management skills are identified by the owner/managers, these are not universally held. This reflects the diversity within the industry and a range of typologies of wineries is presented which highlights the characteristics of each in terms of the owner's backgrounds and motivation to enter, measures of success, management skills and business performance.