Workshop to help wineries think ‘lean’

Wine Australia’s commitment to help wineries improve their businesses and their bottom line by reducing waste and improving their resource efficiency is moving up a gear.

Practical workshops will be run around Australia on request to outline the principles and benefits of ‘lean production’, a way of doing things to identify and help eliminate hidden, non-essential activities and production steps.

Early last year, Wine Australia released The Lean Guide – a primer on lean production for the Australian wine industry, which is available online here.

It then worked with the SA Wine Industry Association and the South Australian Government (via its agency Zero Waste SA) on a two-part pilot study to assess the practicalities of wineries incorporating ‘lean production’ into their practices and the likely benefits.

Stage one, completed late last year, showed that 11 participating wineries could potentially save more than $10 million a year between them (with individual savings ranging from $21,000 to $5 million) by implementing ‘lean production’. However, several barriers to widespread take up were identified, primarily related to a lack of winery-specific benchmark data and a critical mass of people with relevant knowledge and experience.

In the recently completed second stage, a series of group briefing sessions were delivered to teach participating wineries how to implement key ‘lean production’ tools and practices into winery operations and to highlight the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. Benchmark data was also collected and compared.

From both stages of the project, the outcomes gave a clearer idea of how to help wineries and regions to work together to implement ‘lean production’ and a set of valuable case studies. These will be incorporated into the workshops to be delivered around Australia.

‘Lean production is not a cost-cutting exercise nor is it expensive; it is a new way of thinking about existing operations’, said Wine Australia program manager Adrian Loschiavo. ‘And it can be implemented quickly and relatively cheaply once you know how.’

The introductory 20-minute sessions about ‘lean production’ are part of the AWRI-delivered Grape and Wine Roadshow seminar series, delivered around the country. Visit for more information.

A follow-up half-day workshop is ready to be delivered, depending on interest and numbers of participants. For further information or to register interest in a workshop, click here or contact Adrian at or (08) 8228 2020.

Details of a half-day lean production workshop in Mildura on 27 August are available here.