Tough decisions

Hard copies of the Riverland Wine Strategic Plan have been mailed to all members this week.

At the same time the Association has received advice from two large winegrowers that they will not be continuing in the industry. Bulldozers are being organised. Despite their own best efforts and those of this organisation to address the challenges of being profitable, sustainable winegrowers they have made the call, not to continue. Their collective contribution to the regional economy and community over the past decade has amounted to more than $12M at the farmgate. They have invested heavily to become highly productive and efficient producers. Both have expressed strong regrets but have also commented they cannot continue to manage the risks and uncertainties. It is time to consider other options.

As indicated at the AGM when the plan was released, the document in itself does not offer solutions. The plan says, “Strategic planning is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organisation is, who it serves, what it does and why it does it with a focus on the future”.

The two growers who made the tough calls this week have done just that at the enterprise level. It takes discipline and courage to make such fundamental decisions. As many others who have left the industry in recent years will attest, the decision to change directions has in most cases served as a turning point and an opportunity for new beginnings but it’s not easy.

Riverland Wine regrets the loss of two of the region’s most committed producers but applauds them for their courage.

The management committees of the RWGA and RWIDC are hopeful that all members will take the time to read the new plan in detail, to offer feedback via phone calls, emails and regional meetings and at the same time to reflect on their own business planning and decision making. The association will convene the next round of regional meetings early in 2015 and progress reports of activities identified in the plan will be issued at six-monthly intervals.

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