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.
Statistics can always be interpreted to emphasise a particular argument or point of view. However, the main indicators in this region are positive. Riverland vineyards have maintained their foot-print at just over 20,000 hectares, unlike the vineyards of the Murray Valley and Riverina where other crops are having an impact on winegrape hectares. Regional farmgate income has been rising steadily since the lowest point in 2010. There are 300 less vineyards than was the case at the turn of the century. Average yields are still relatively high, driven by the long period of unsustainable pricing regimes. Average dollar returns per hectare are becoming respectable although still well below those of other crops.
The following chart has been prepared showing 5-year rolling averages, to iron out aberrations that occur from year to year. On balance, the trends are positive: