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Water, climate change and the social and economic impacts of the MDB Plan are in the media almost every day for one reason or another. Many of the ‘headlines’ are negative, pointing to gloom and doom and of course these are real risks for our whole communities. Those on the front-line in this region are mostly irrigators and in the case of Riverland Wine (RW) these ‘front-liners’ are winegrowers and winemakers. As reported above, one thing RW can do is organise workshops to help clarify some of the mystery. The organisation can also encourage collaboration across the horticulture sector to ensure we are actively influencing policy. So, it’s pleasing to report the core commodity groups have formed a Water Forum, similar to the Hort Reference Forum put in place early in the period of the last drought.

Riverland Wine recently organised and delivered a third round of the very successful water workshop, on behalf of CCW.

The workshops were conceived to deliver the best, and latest, information to help growers deal with the challenges of water restrictions and availability. It is not easy to work out the best and most economic strategies to ensure you have adequate water to produce a viable crop. Best strategies depend upon a multitude of factors: water price; grape variety; yields; level of restriction; grape price; and future outlook are a few of the factors to be considered. It is extremely difficult to get it right, especially when many of the factors are unknown and you need a crystal ball to try and work out the future,

Nonetheless, around 120 growers were given the best information available from independent water policy experts, Aither. CSIRO scientist Everard Edwards provided insights on ways to get the best yield out of the water available, while Andrew Weeks and Ian Macrae presented some excellent financial modelling to assist in making the difficult decisions.

All of the material presented at the forum is available online.

Feedback following the workshop was unanimously positive. This is very pleasing, but also an indication that those who attended found the information on-target and valuable.

Riverland Wine congratulates Ashley and Holly Ratcliff on their latest triumph, having five out of five of the wines they submitted for the 2020 James Halliday Wine Companion scoring 92 points or higher with three wines scoring 95/100. All the wines are ‘alternative varieties’ i.e. varieties that are particularly suited to our Riverland climate and growing conditions. They also emphasise those viticultural practices that strive for quality such as crop thinning, hand pruning and hand picking.

The WGCSA has updated the Employment FAQ section on their website with information covering employees, wages, superannuation and more. Pay rates under the Wine Industry Award for the current financial year are also provided. 

Members of WGCSA have access to, at no additional cost, an advisory service on any issue relating to the employment and safety of workers with the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) – by phone 8222 9277 or email.

The Minister for Environment and Water has asked Riverland Wine to remind all irrigators of the need to reconcile accounts quarterly. The current quarter will end on September 30. During these times of such uncertainty it is easy to overlook these quarterly compliance obligations. However, the penalties are very much to be avoided.

The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia has opened its 2019 Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards – offering young farmers and rural youth the opportunity to pursue personal and professional development to ultimately benefit their local communities.

The Riverland Wine Centre, owned and operated by Andrew and Bronny Caire at Pike River Luxury Villas, has been open since June.

The Riverland Automatic Weather Station Network

As mentioned in previous newsletters, Riverland Wine is collaborating with the NRM Board to expand and upgrade the region’s automatic weather station network.

Time is running out to register for the 14th annual Young Gun of Wine (YGOW), designed to celebrate and showcase both young wine labels and winemakers on the rise.

As from the beginning of this new financial year the ATO Single Touch Payroll (STP) system will require all small employers to report payroll activities on a regular basis. This means Growers who pay staff must report tax and super information progressively throughout the year.

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