With almost all Riverland wineries having issued indicative prices by mid-January, the signs for the region continue to be positive. The $400 (minimum indicative) mark for preferred reds has been achieved. This is good news. It’s a 19% improvement for Shiraz and 15% for Cab Sauv over 2016 regional averages. These are the indicatives growers suggested back in September at the breakfast meetings. Furthermore, with $310 as the likely 2017 average for Chardonnay that’s also an increase of approximately 5%; not to be sneezed at. Most other prices are considered fair with several wineries also breaking $400 for merlot! This goes a long way to restoring industry confidence. Putting growers’ indicative minimums out there was very much a calculated risk. Seeing them largely agreed is an endorsement of the collaborative working arrangements put in place in this region between winemakers and growers way back in 2010.
Riverland Wine Executive Officer Chris Byrne said this week, “These prices reflect the market reality. It’s been well and truly established now; there is a shortage of bulk wine globally. There’s no doubt that has been a significant factor underlying the positive pricing announcements. Riverland grapes are in demand. And prices are returning to a point where growers can look forward with renewed confidence; re-investment back into vineyards can be planned and some of the remedial maintenance work that’s been necessarily deferred in recent years can be carried out. Value will return to vineyard assets. Regional wealth will improve measurably this year. Benefits will be shared across the community. With margins pressed to the bone over the last decade it’s been tough to be an on-goer watching so much of the wealth being siphoned off, beyond the reach of primary producers. Our underlying emphasis on sustainable programs and value chain principles is beginning to resonate. The region’s winegrowers and winemakers will continue developing joint strategies in the exciting areas of R&D to ensure we continue to be competitive in every aspect of viticulture and wine production. Trust will continue to grow and that’s positive”.
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