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If water was not part of the equation, most Riverland wine growers would be very pleased with the medium-term outlook. The recent Wine Australia survey data reveals the region has emerged from the dark days of oversupply and drought in a strong position; well placed to meet the demands of customers and consumers. Many have already received inquiries about availability of winegrapes for the 2020 vintage.

A comprehensive stakeholder survey by Wine Australia is underway.

A link to the survey has been sent to over 8,000 Australian wine and grape community members and Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark is encouraging everyone to have their say on how their levies are spent.

As foreshadowed recently, Riverland Wine has been working with Magarey Pathology to make improvements and add new features to the disease-alert system delivered under the CropWatch banner for many years.

Notwithstanding the good-news on market prices for grapes, the market-price for water is continuing to dampen many spirits. An outcome of the ‘wrecking decade’ has been new levels of efficiency in almost every vineyard. The region’s growers have outperformed most others in terms of initiating and adopting best practice to reduce production costs. Most have already achieved high levels of water use efficiency. BUT Water markets are now confounding many as they strive to understand complex, inconsistent, policies, products and standards.

The Australian winegrape crush for 2019 is estimated to be 1.73 million tonnes – 50% approximately from South Australia and 27.43% from the South Australia’s Riverland.

The announcement that allocations have lurched forward another 7% in the past fortnight has been greeted with groans from our increasingly frustrated irrigator community. This super cautious creeping policy is hard to comprehend.

Good news from Wine Australia this week. Following requests from Wine Australia, the Department of Agriculture has agreed to establish a levy payer register for the Australian grape and wine sector.

From August 31, 2019 labour hire providers (including vineyard contracting providers, picking and pruning gangs) must be licensed under the South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 when undertaking ‘labour hire services’. 

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is dedicated to developing female leaders and supporting the increased presence of women in business and community leadership roles. By most measures women are an under-utilised national resource.

The first cross-commodity water forum modelled on the horticulture reference forum that operated throughout the last drought to discuss the wide-ranging water challenges was convened last week. Winegrowers, citrus growers and almond growers met with representatives from the Riverland irrigation trusts.

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