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Riverland grape prices set to plummet in new season
25 February 2022
Grape growers in Australia’s largest wine-making region are struggling to turn a
profit, as global trade conditions take their toll on the industry.
South Australia’s Riverland is home to more than 900 wine grape growers, and
produces about 40 per cent of Australia’s crush every year.
Following a bumper vintage last year, global freight pressures, an excess of stock
in storage, the deteriorating trading relations with China and changing consumer
behaviour due to the pandemic, demand for grapes is low.
The pressures are particularly being felt by red grape growers, with the dent in
the massive Chinese market following the introduction of tariffs.
Speaking to the ABC, Cool-tong grower Jack Papageorgiou says the situation is so
bad he is facing the possibility of dumping grapes for the first time in 48 years —
a move that would still come at a cost.
“Don’t forget I can’t just dump it. I need to bring a harvester and contractor to get
the grapes off,” he said.
Mr Papageorgiou said he did not expect many growers in the region to turn a
profit this vintage.
“We are well down on cost of production. Two years ago we were getting $600 to
$700 a tonne for the reds and now we’re down to $300”, he said.
“It’s going to be a challenging time for growers, contractors, carriers and
processors. It’s going to be really challenging in the next four months.”
Riverland Wine, which described 2021 as a “unicorn vintage”, told its members to
be prepared for low prices for red grapes in 2022.
CCW is a cooperative of 600 Riverland grape growers who sell their grapes to
multi-national Accolade Wines.
“We’ve seen some incredible growth in some of the Asian regions, like Hong
Kong, Singapore and Thailand, and that shows the resilience of the wine industry,
that pivot to new markets”, the cooperative’s chief executive, Jim Godden said.
”There have been different impacts. It’s not normal to have a pandemic and it’s
not normal to have the country shut down, so we need to come out the other
side of that and see what that does to the industry.”
Adelaide, South Australia