The wine resource

The Riverland is the largest wine growing and producing region in Australia.

Recognised as the backbone of the national industry and housing ten major wineries (including the largest in the Southern Hemisphere), 30+ wine brands, exporting to over 109 countries across the globe, and producing 30%+ of Australia’s total crush – the gross statistics are impressive.

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The value of the Riverland wine resource

Often under recognised, it is impossible to use the same metric to measure this region against others in Australia and indeed many around the world. 

As a wine region it has a completely unique personality, character and scale to other wine regions in Australia, and that provides significant commercial advantages and an immense return on investment to and for the Australian wine industry bottom line. 

The real story of the Riverland wine region is the indisputable value of its world-class wineries and vineyards to the national gross. To illustrate this please consider the below key facts:

  • The Riverland provides 30%+ of Australia’s national crush, the Barossa contributes just 2% and the Yarra Valley just 4%.
  • The value of the Riverland vineyard assets to the Australian industry is approximately $400 million. 
  • In 2019 the farmgate income from this asset was $226 million which was reinvested back into the industry in this region.
  • Every major wine company in Australia purchases significant tonnage of winegrape fruit from the Riverland to use in their premium wine products meaning that most of the wines produced in Australia have a drop of Riverland in them.
  • Demand for Riverland winegrape fruit is high both nationally and globally and has remained so over many decades due to its high quality. 
  • The region has maintained its epic contribution to the national industry even when challenged by factors outside of its control including drought, floods, frost and water restrictions.
  • Because of its scale it earns more dollars per hectare than any other Australian region and its economies of scale and climate allows its spend per hectare to be one of the lowest nationally. Efficiency and sustainability is a priority and a measure of success in the Riverland.
  • 80% of the wine produced in the Riverland was exported to 109 countries globally. The world cannot get enough of Riverland wine.
  • This exported wine carries ‘Brand Australia’ internationally and is distributed to a variety of target consumers in a variety of price segments that are hugely successful and pivotal – not just to but including premium wine consumer markets.
  • The region is actively committed to innovative viticultural and winemaking practices, lowering cost and environmental impacts and improving output.

This is the Riverland wine story.

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Advancing in the modern wine world

The location of the Riverland has forced the ingenuity of its clever and resilient community. Located on the edge of the Great Australian Outback and scratched out of the Mallee scrub, it is provided life by the mighty Murray River, one of the largest, longest and most significant river systems in the world.

However, the use of the river comes with a price and the Riverland’s location towards the end of the river’s journey to the sea means that the preservation of this massive and significant natural asset is paramount and boundless megalitres of healthy water is not assured. For many generations the Emerald Corridor, the Riverland’s modern moniker, has built a deep understanding of this slow moving serpent, subscribing to the mantra – ‘We are wine growers. We must work in harmony with nature, we can’t control it.’ 

With this mindset, and like those who have gone before them, this strong, understated and intelligent wine community approach the years that stretch ahead with confidence, leading the way sustainably as fierce environmental custodians. Some of the Riverland wine region’s initiatives include:

Hands off Hectares

Focussed on working smarter not harder, this project with partners Wine Australia, AWRI, the South Australian Research and Development Institute and The University of Adelaide, has involved helping growers embrace digital platforms and technology to save water, and therefore money.

Efficiency and financial education

Efficient production processes and a value chain approach have reduced the number of growers in the region from 1251 in 2000 to 952 in 2019 and kept those remaining more profitable and in control. Business and database systems have been implemented to serve and communicate better with stakeholders, collaborators, members, and customers.

Sutainability and technology

From the early days of flooding furrows, to the now precision drip irrigation systems and Hands off Hectares project that uses remote digital sensors for achieving greater water efficiency – science and agriculture have always worked beside each other in partnership. Preservation and sustainability is a priority that the whole community is utterly committed to – working smarter not harder. The Riverland is now leading the way in viticultural understanding and practice, sustainable wine production, research and technologies.

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