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Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

It’s not uncommon during vintage to hear grumbles from all the links in the chain, from the farmgate to the crusher. Mostly those ‘spot-fires’ can be made safe with some sensible communication and sharing of risk along the chain. But this year, it’s different. There’s too much smoke.

The Virtual Reality film production being directed by Riverland Wine with 57 Film, Wine Australia, Destination Riverland and the RDA is in full swing.

Up until the compressed vintage, the water challenge was top of mind for most and indeed has been for several years in this region. The Riverland Wine team recently agreed that it is time to re-establish a regular water forum, similar to the Hort Reference Forum put in place prior to the first ever water restrictions in 2005 and four years ahead of the separation of water from the land. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan had not even been contemplated when the last forum, under the chairmanship of Kevin Pfeiffer, was put in place. Feedback from industry since the ‘Water, Water, Water’ piece in early February has been enthusiastic.

Everyone knows it was a superb growing season through until December with just one early season blemish when some growers had to deal with some early downy mildew.

Wine Australia has released its schedule of export and tourism workshops to help new and experienced wine businesses grow their exports and wine tourism.

The workshops ‘Growing Wine Exports’ and ‘Growing Wine Tourism’ start in March and are delivered face-to-face and online.

Both programs aim to equip wine businesses with the tools, case studies and market insights to capture export and tourism opportunities.

To register or save the date for a Growing Wine Exports or Growing Wine Tourism workshop or webinar, visit the Wine Australia website or contact Wine Australia by email or phone (08) 8228 2000.


In recent months members have been informed about the amalgamation of the two peak industry bodies, Australian Vignerons (AV) and the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA). Riverland Wine members have applauded the union of the two organisations and have moved to ensure communication lines between the stakeholders in Australia’s largest wine producing region are wide open.

The South Australian Government has been conducting a review of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has engaged with wine producers in recent weeks to begin developing a formal position on behalf of industry. A discussion paper will be published in mid-2019.

Despite best endeavours as we get further into the 2019 harvest, there is plenty of evidence of grape spillages. The above image is not from the Riverland but it does serve as a reminder of just how serious the consequences can be if anyone along the chain of responsibility between the vineyard and the crusher loses concentration even for an instant.

As the grape and wine industry plunges into the 2019 harvest following the most blistering growing season in recent memory the water worries for the current year and for future years are causing many to lose sleep and to search for better ways of managing the water risk.

Riverland Wine has added its considerable weight as a representative industry body to the Fruit Fly Eradication Program. Executive Chair Chris Byrne has written to the Minister this week applauding the action to introduce zero tolerance at all roadblocks in the region and elsewhere across the State.

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