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Crucial to have all the facts

A questionnaire sent to 1300 wine grapegrowers in the Murray Valley aims to establish how much fruit will remain unsold this year.

All 1300 growers on the database of Murray Valley Winegrowers’ have been sent a one-page survey that seeks information on four main topics:

· prices received for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Colombard, Merlot and Shiraz · whether grapes were sold under the terms of a formal contract · an estimate of tonnes NOT sold, and · whether the vineyard will be on the market within the next two years

Mike Stone chief executive officer of Murray Valley Winegrowers’ Inc, said the information sought from growers was essential to the preparation of a case that industry will be presenting to government in May. “Murray Valley Winegrowers’ and other industry groups will be meeting again with Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran to brief him and his department on the fallout from the 2006 harvest and likely repercussions. “When we talk to Government and industry about possible solutions and assistance, we must produce facts in support of what we’re saying. “The questionnaire will give us the facts on how many growers sold grapes without covering costs, the percentage of growers still operating under contract, the varieties and tonnes that didn’t find buyers and how many growers intend to sell their vineyard within the next two years. “It is vital that responses are obtained from the great majority of the 1300 winegrape growers in the Murray-Darling and Swan Hill wine regions, and for responses to be provided to Murray Valley Winegrowers’. The information will be aggregated and all information relating to individual growers will remain confidential,” said Stone.

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