More than 170 Riverland growers and winemakers attended a Wine Industry Forum at the Chaffey Theatre on Wednesday afternoon. Industry chiefs from six wine companies that purchase the majority of Riverland grapes were each invited speak for up to 10 minutes in response to the questions ‘How do you see the short term future of the wine industry in the Riverland and what are your expectations for the medium to longer term’.
The presentations were followed by a question and answer session with Riverland Wine Chair Brian Walsh (aka Tony Jones) moderating.
The majority of members stayed for a BBQ, a selection of Riverland wines provided by the speakers and the opportunity to talk one-on-one.
The sentiment among the growers was genuine appreciation that these industry chiefs had spoken so openly and willingly. Much of what was discussed was tinged with yet more challenges, particularly in the short term. It is important to understand the factors that impinge on margins and to understand how these all affect the relationship between the price paid by the consumer and the price paid for grapes. It was encouraging to hear the reassurances that the Riverland wine industry is well poised to remain strong in the medium to long term.
The region’s abundance of key attributes will certainly count in the longer run once the global supply/demand imbalance is rectified. Our soils, our high standards of water use efficiency, our dry mild climate, regional infrastructure, mechanisation, access to markets and resilient communities are all align in such as to indicate the Riverland will become the preferred region for the supply of popular premium wine both domestically and internationally.
All speakers commended Riverland Wine for its initiative in bringing growers and winemakers together in the forum to encourage greater understanding of market realities but also opportunities for new innovations in the vineyard, the winery and in the way we package and market wines.