At this time of year, wineries fill tanks, harvesters become tiresome and wine growers look towards the close of vintage. Thoughts slowly turn to planning next year. Most often winegrowers think about what went right, what went wrong, what needs to be done to be a better grower next year and avoid the trap of getting older and poorer!
Perhaps there may be an opportunity to top-work a patch to a preferred variety, maybe replace a patch or two, upgrade equipment, get on top of the on-going maintenance work program or just resolve to get on top of weeds!
Decisions, decisions. There’s not normally much in the way of welcome advice but there’s no end of information about the industry: export data, import data, volumes, values, trends, free trade agreements, tax reforms or lack of and how winegrapes are travelling compared to citrus and nuts. So much to absorb and all before pruning and before the next irrigation year commences.
The mere mention of the word, irrigation, strikes fear into hearts of many that were once confident there would be enough water so long as irrigators and governments behaved responsibly and the ‘hundred year drought’ stuck to the rules.
Well that hasn’t happened and these days the very value of water creates another option for some. With a megalitre of temporary water worth more than a tonne of grapes in some cases the temptation to trade water rather than grow grapes has some appeal.
To assist irrigators in understanding these options a very interesting report has recently been published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) entitled: Contemporary trends and drivers of irrigation in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. It’s available on the website but for those without web access a copy can be provided if you call Kate on 8584 5816.
It’s a very detailed report and not difficult to read. It has a special section on wine grapes as well as other crops. If you are in a dilemma about growing wine grapes or trading water this report will help.