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Accolade launches website to inform Riverland growers on proposal

Accolade Wines has today launched a website to help growers understand its proposed solution to the challenges confronting the Riverland wine industry and its growers, following meetings with the region’s co-operative group CCW which saw “only a small portion” of CCW members in attendance. The CCW members will determine by vote whether Accolade’s offer is accepted, with a two-thirds majority needed in order for it to pass.

The website also provides a method for growers to ask questions about the proposal and review responses from Accolade.

Accolade Wines chief supply chain officer Joe Russo said it was critical that growers had adequate information about the proposal.

“It is critical that all growers understand the detail of our proposal and its benefits. There has been a lot of discussion of the issue confronting our industry and we need to move the focus towards action and solutions. While it has been good to meet with growers since we launched this last week, only a small proportion of CCW’s members actually attended last week’s meetings,” Russo said.

“The support of CCW members is critical. Two-thirds of them will have to vote in favour of the proposal. Without their vote, the package cannot proceed – and the risks are much higher for everyone and the outcome much more uncertain.

“There is currently no other feasible option on the table that allows us as an industry to manage the outcome and our future. This package provides all growers with greater certainty and clarity. It allows us all to manage a difficult transition more smoothly, it allows those who wish to exit, to do so with dignity and those who want to continue, to do so with greater confidence.”

Accolade says its proposal will provide growers with choice, certainty, and fairer pricing.

Accolade detailed the proposed benefits of its offer in a release to media today:

Choice:

  • A voluntary buy-out option for red winegrapes for those who wish to take it up. Growers choosing to participate in this buy-out keep their contract with CCW and have the choice of keeping their vines and sell to others, diversifying their grapes or exiting the industry.

Certainty:

  • This proposal will go some way toward addressing the structural imbalance and red winegrape glut, providing a more stable, sustainable, and certain industry for the future. It provides set tenure of contracts with substantial notice periods and it offers to cover the cost of CCW’s bulk wine contract – removing a significant financial burden from the cooperative.

Fairer pricing:

  • Pricing will be transparently set by the Weighted District Average, rather than a confusing and outdated market price often applied by an independent expert.

 

“As an industry, for us to continue as if no response is required simply isn’t sustainable. We have a shared responsibility to face into this challenge and respond,” said Russo.

“We’re wanting to take a constructive approach to the biggest industry challenge in many years. We’re keen to keep working with CCW and have listened and adapted in developing this package.”

Accolade Wines is urging growers to be informed about this proposal, ask questions to gather as much information as possible before they vote by visiting: www.sustainableriverlandwine.com.au

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