As previously advised in various forums, Riverland Wine has compiled a register of unsold grapes. So far more than 8,000 tonnes of different varieties have been listed. All growers who have submitted grapes for the register have been contacted to verify the accuracy of their listing and to confirm they are willing to engage directly with buyers or wineries that might respond.
Riverland Wine has also provided a Pro Forma Spot Purchase Contract to assist growers. Executive Officer Chris Byrne has urged all growers to ensure that they do not agree to sell grapes without the cover of this contract as a minimum means of protecting their business interests. He added, if potential buyers are not prepared to sign this contract and if alternative supply agreements are offered, growers should take advice to ensure that their interests are protected before signing to sell grapes especially if selling to a winery or buyer with whom they have not had previous transactions.
Once growers have confirmed their listing and have acknowledged they will use the Pro Forma Contract, the listing of available grapes will be emailed to all South Australian wineries that may have an interest. The list will be recirculated over the coming months on a regular basis. Growers may add to the list if necessary. They will also be urged to remove their grapes from the register once sold.
Mr Byrne cautioned that growers should not rush to accept the first offer. Indications coming in from the field continue to suggest that yields are falling below estimates in many cases. He said, “We are yet to see the impact of last week’s heatwave across all of south-eastern Australia. There is little doubt if the heatwave had a significant effect on yields, there will be an upswing in demand as wineries scramble to secure supply”. On Friday three companies contacted the Riverland Wine office to express interest in contacting growers with grapes for sale.
He added, “Growers should not suddenly have unrealistic expectations around prices. However, it is reasonable to anticipate some improvement above the indicative prices issued in mid-December if yields are falling below winery requirements”.