Droughts, wildfires, and weak currency have hurt Australia's wine exports—but for losing their reputation as premium vintners, the Aussies have no one but themselves to blame. When $7 Yellow Tail flooded US markets three years ago, "Australia made itself synonymous with cut-rate, generic wines," Mike Steinberger writes in Slate. Some estimates place last year's dive in value of Australian wine exports to the US at 26%.
"Consumers came to equate Australia with wines that were flavorful but also cheap and frivolous," says Steinberger. "When they got interested in more serious stuff, they turned to Spain, Italy, and France." Now South American and African wineries are chipping away at the low-cost market, too. "Australia needs to reintroduce itself to consumers—to acquaint them with the country's enormous viticultural diversity."