Winemakers are feeling supply chain pressures 15 months after China introduced tariffs on their produce, an industry leader has revealed.

China, Australia’s top wine export market, imposed tariffs of 116-218% on imports of Australian bottled wine in March last year.

Mitchell Taylor, managing director of South Australia-based Taylors winery Mitchell Taylor, told The China Files podcast that the industry had been blindsided by the decision.

“At first we thought it was a bit of a joke,” Mr Taylor said.

“We thought ‘is this an April Fool’s joke in China?’.”

Winemakers are struggling to find a new market to match that of China, but hope they will cede large markets in South Korea, Japan and Singapore to recoup some losses.

Despite speculation a change of government in Australia could have a positive impact on the country’s relationship with China, Mr Taylor said winemakers could not count on that and were exploring new export options.

“We support our government on these issues, but we just have to look at other opportunities,” Taylor said.

“We even placed our first order in India. While it was a small order…hopefully it got a big market for long-term success.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Taylor said supply chain issues stemming from lockdowns and the war in Ukraine have put additional pressure on the industry.

“The supply chain is a big issue for us,” he said.

“We’re waiting for containers. Right now at the winery we have about two months worth of orders that we just can’t ship.”

Logistical delays affecting shipping had a direct effect on Taylors.

“The [ships] missed Port Adelaide because they’re so late they’re just rescheduled,” Mr Taylor said.

The China Files with Chris Smith examines China’s emergence as a global superpower and its plans for Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Explore a new topic every week on Apple, Spotify Where Google Podcasts.