SHOCK CLAIMS: Leeanne Gangemi of Ballandean Estate Wines said approximately 20 per cent of their market was exports.
SHOCK CLAIMS: Leeanne Gangemi of Ballandean Estate Wines said approximately 20 per cent of their market was exports.

Granite Belt producers hit back at wine dumping claims

ALLEGATIONS Australian winemakers have been ‘dumping’ product on the Chinese market sent shockwaves through the Granite Belt.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce launched a year-long investigation into claims Australian winemakers were selling products at a significantly cheaper price to Chinese buyers.

“Dumping” practices have the potential to damage a country’s domestic market, as a result of the flood of significantly cheaper imported products.

Ballandean Estate Wines client relations officer Leeanne Gangemi said the loss of the Chinese market, which makes up about 20 per cent of their own business, would be “awful” for the industry.

“It would be a shame to lose that through no fault of our own,” Mrs Gangemi said.

“My customers want my wine, but whether we’re able to send it over in the short-term is the question.

“We’re in the lucky position that we’re not making wine specifically for that market.”

There are 10 wineries believed to be under investigation, none of which export from the Granite Belt.

Mrs Gangemi said the Chinese export market had helped grow local cellar doors, as overseas buyers looked for unique and quality wine.

“For small winemakers to be exporting to China is amazing but it’s such a huge market,” she said.

“We’re not your regular wine region, there’s people there looking for niche wines and our wines are rare.”

Member for Maranoa David Littleproud defended the nation’s winemakers, who are highly regarded worldwide.

“While I respect the right of any nation to defend their domestic producers from unfair and uncompetitive trade practices, we reject any claim that Australian wine product has been “dumped” into China,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Australia produces some of the best quality and most popular wine in the world, with our wines exported to numerous markets globally.”

The year-long investigation won’t be detrimental to Ballandean Estate in the long run due to limited product in general, according to Mrs Gangemi.

“In the Granite Belt, we’ve had three years of drought and the past year has been terrible, we haven’t been able to produce as much as we normally would,” she said.

“For us, it’s disappointing, concerning and something in the back of our minds, but it’s not a devastating blow because tourism has picked up.”

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