CAUTIOUS optimism was the topic of the day at the Winemakers' Federation of Australia annual general meeting on Wednesday.
WFA chief executive Paul Evans said the industry was making quiet progress.
"There are good short-term indicators for business growth and industry is feeling good,'' Mr Evan said.
"The market is looking better but there are still structural issues that need to be addressed within the industry.
"There are good short-term indicators and demand in key markets.
"No one is getting carried away with themselves just at this stage.''
He said it has been a challenging year for the Federation and its staff.
"But this industry remains an overwhelming social and economic positive for the country,'' Mr Evans said.
Mr Evans was appointed chief executive five months ago.
"We operate in a global market and in my short time in the industry it is clear that our stakeholders require a broader definition of industry health that goes beyond supply-side and production data,'' he said.
"There is also a genuine appetite to know more about demand-side opportunities in key markets and domestically, and how the industry should be structured into the future to capture growth and share.''
He said the industry also needed to understand the supply-demand imbalances, where the mismatches were and what roles the distortions played in either supporting or diminishing industry profitability.
"This holds the potential for illuminating optimal wine tax structures to support a viable and sustainable industry,'' Mr Evans said.
"I believe independent analysis can help our industry better understand and align on sensitive taxation issues and will enable us to engage governments more confidently on the preferred regulatory settings that will abet recovery.
"In a week where we have seen further reports of margin squeeze on retailers, it is also important to maintain our understanding of the role of market power in our industry.''
The three key issues he raised were:
- where growth will come from,
- how will it be distributed among growers, winemakers and retailers
- whether current arrangements can sustain a diverse and profitable supply and manufacturing base, and
- what can realistically be done to ensure fair margin growth for all the industry.