A stellar vintage in 2021, but an uncertain 2022

The 2020 growing season and Vintage 2021 was almost perfect in the Riverland region, with some describing it as a ‘unicorn’ vintage, a once in a lifetime event of near textbook conditions producing wines of outstanding quality.

Reports from across the region were positive, with some experiencing their best yield in many years. When statistics are available early next month, we anticipate the Riverland will have increased its wine grape crush by more than 5% to over 500,000 tonnes, approximately 25% of the national crush.

Growers and wineries are now facing a season of uncertainty, as a clearer picture of the impact that Chinese imposed tariffs will have on this year’s crop emerges. There is expected to be a significant reduction in wine exports to China in 2021 and this will highly likely result in many Riverland grape growers being paid less in 2022 for their new season’s red wine grape varieties.

The price that winemakers are able to pay grape growers is based on a number of factors, such as existing inventories and the outlook and projected demand by the domestic and international wine markets. With wine brokers reporting a significant increase in bulk wine inventory and a corresponding price reduction in the secondary inter winery bulk wine market, this provides an indication of future grape demand and price.

General Manager of Riverland Wine, Mrs Jo Pippos, noted that the pricing outlook for the coming vintage is very concerning and recommends growers contact their wineries to start discussions.

“Growers should be speaking to their winery contacts and seeking advice as early as possible. It is crucial that as a grower you understand your winery’s position coming into next vintage, and what varieties you may need to manage differently this year.

“It is important growers are aware of the impending situation and manage their vineyards and costs accordingly. With pruning beginning across the region in June and July, growers must be mindful more than ever whilst there is uncertainty in the marketplace that they manage their vineyards for the most economical return.

“I can’t place enough importance on understanding your bottom line. Effective management begins with knowing your numbers.” she added.

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