2017 closed on a positive note for the region’s wine industry. Most were optimistic that 2018 would consolidate the 2015 and 2016 improvements in prices for grape and wine. Market indicators were positive but growers remained edgy. Few anticipated the demand for grapes that emerged in the first week of January.
The number ‘out of region’ buyers, inquiring about Riverland grapes trebled. The unsold grapes register had the odd few tonnes listed (very) temporarily. By way of comparison, 14,000 tonnes were registered on January 1, just 3 years ago. Indicative prices, proclaimed in mid-December, barely made it to the New Year before major upward revisions began.
In 2017, early mover ‘RED’ buyers crashed through the $400 barrier for the first time in more than a decade! Optimism lurched back into the grower community but few dared even dream of the big $500. By the 3rd Monday of 2018, phones were jangling with talk of high 4s and even 5’s were being offered… and signed.
The light 2017 harvest across the northern hemisphere and Chile is a facto but the strong growth in demand for Australian Wine is a more than that. Read the Wine Australia piece below. The perennial challenges around the SEA label, regional supply and demand, water markets, energy costs, biosecurity risks, bulk wine prices and trade relationships remain but positive trends are emerging.
The line of sight between supply, demand and prices is being restored. Smiles on the weary faces of courageous Riverland growers and winemakers are heart-warming for families, businesses, and indeed the communities across the Riverland. Grape and wine producers can again, stand proudly alongside their neighbours growing some of the world’s best citrus, finest nuts, fresh fruit vegetables and grain.
The estimated farmgate value for winegrapes will smash back through the $150M barrier this year, for the first time in more than a decade! Go Riverland!