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Grape glut hits the Hills

Cliff Hurburgh reported in The Courier on 18 January 2006 that Adelaide Hills grapegrowers are facing a dramatic drop in prices from $1200 a tonne to $400 for some varieties while others simply have nowhere to sell any of their fruit as wineries reduce their intake.

At least one grower in Langhorne Creek will waste almost 80% of her crop or 250 tonnes of fruit.

SA Wine Industry Association chief executive Linda Bowes said Australia could reduce the over supply of wine grapes in cool climate regions within the next three years if exports maintain their growth rate of at least 10% each year.

Langhorne Creek grower Judy Cross, who has a 40ha vineyard, said she lost a contract with a winery last season leaving her with no choice but to let 40% of her crop fall to the ground last year.

Mrs Cross and husband Phillip need to maintain the vineyard in the hopes the grapes will be sold but have been forced to find off farm work to support themselves.

“This year’s crop looks fantastic but the likelihood of selling them is not good at present, regardless of the quality of the grapes,” she said.

“It’s very drastic because we were 100% contracted to a winery that has downsized and is not taking any more grapes.”

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