Riverina grape growers taking advantage of soaring market

A boom in the wine export market has given Griffith’s winegrape growers the perfect opportunity to capitalise on for a solid profit this year.

The Wine Australia report released earlier in the week, outlines that in the 12 months to the end of December, exports increased by 15 per cent to $2.56 billion - the highest annual growth rate in 13 years. 

Volume grew by 8 per cent to 811 million litres, achieving a calendar-year record.

Chief Executive Officer of the Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board Brian Simpson is getting word out to growers, encouraging them to have conversations with their current winery about getting a better return.​

“Supply and demand is working, international production has been impacted by weather events, and most major world producers have seen a reduced harvest in 2017,” he said.

“Our exports are still strong with China, now our second largest market for bottled and bulk wines.”

A number of the regions wineries are lifting prices in an attempt to attract new growers away from their existing buyers.

This is excellent news for winegrape growers such as Bruno Brombal and Bruno Altin, who encourage fellow growers to negotiate with buyers for increased prices.

“I’ve been negotiating with my winery for three varieties, which they’ve come up to ... it’s a matter of if your not happy with the prices, you negotiate,” Mr Brombal said.

Nericon grower Mr Altin said now is the perfect time for growers in the region to plant more varieties, replacing existing vines to increase their profits.

“Prices over the last few years have been around $200 to $250 a tonne mark, whereas this year some white varieties are up to $300, with reds sitting around $450 to $500,” Mr Altin said.

“The bulk of growers haven’t been able to afford to plant because of the cashflow, but this is a great opportunity to get rid of varieties they don’t want and replace them with better ones,” Mr Brombal agreed.

Despite concerns held fearing crop yields in general are going to be less than the 2017 harvest, the current market means growers may be able to make a return this season, placing them in a strong cash position.

To read the full Australian wine exports reach post, click here.