The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA recently published the results of the 2014 Winegrape Crush Survey. As expected the survey revealed an alarming decline in the price paid for grapes of $57 per tonne average (17 per cent) across all varieties. When expressed as average income per hectare the decline was restricted to seven per cent because of the increased regional crush, up 10 per cent to 436K tonnes.
Despite unsustainable returns for the majority of businesses, winegrowers still generated $127M of regional income. This does not include any value-add for wine production and packaging.
The Riverland vineyard footprint has remained reasonably stable for more than 10 years at just less than 21,000ha.
The number of registered vineyards in the region has declined by 29 over the past 12 months. The table shown provides summary data from the past 15 vintages. It is important to note that averages can be misleading. For instance, the table indicates the average size of Riverland vineyards is just over 20ha. This is deceptive in the light of the very high proportion of vineyards in the less than 10ha category.
The 10 year rolling average regional winegrape income (2000-09) was $205M. This number has diminished to $149M for the 10 years 2005-14. That represents an estimated decline in regional income to winegrowers of $550M over that period. Riverland Wine is working with the Phylloxera Board and other industry agencies to improve the timeliness, content and accuracy of these surveys.