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Growers and vines gutted
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(First appeared in the Murray Valley Winegrowers News and Views, September-November 2009 edition)
More than 2000 hectares of winegrapes are reported to have been removed in Australia's Murray Valley this year.
Growers responding to surveys conducted by Murray Valley Winegrowers Incorporated (MVW) soon after harvest and in September have abandoned entire vineyards or reduced the area planted to winegrapes, shrinking the area under winegrapes by 2013ha.
But the MVW believe the move away from winegrapes is likely to be much greater than indicated in the surveys because not all growers had responded to the survey yet.
As at the end of October, 477 growers had returned surveys that had been mailed to all growers in early September.
Of these, 89 (19%) indicated they were no longer producing winegrapes.
Forty-five percent of the 388 growers said they would exit the industry if they could.
Thirty-six percent indicated a preference for staying in the industry while 19% didn’t answer the question.
As at October 9, precisely 900 growers appeared on the MVW database whereas just several years ago there was about 1300.
Since the 2009 harvest 195 growers have been removed from the database.
Survey results also suggested a minimum of 435ha of Chardonnay had been taken out of production, followed by Sultana (117ha), Colombard (62ha), Shiraz (55ha) and Merlot (54ha).
The survey also revealed some plantings, mainly Shiraz (37ha) and Gordo (17ha), yet the MVW is still awaiting results from another 420 growers.
Murray Valley winegrowers are urged to contact the MVW office on (03) 5021 3911 if their survey form has been misplaced.