AGW calls on SA Government to reclass wine sector as essential

Australian Grape & Wine (AGW), on yesterday’s news of new lockdown rules for South Australia, says the six-day period is “adding to the [wine sector’s] worries” in the lead up to vintage 2021.

Tony Battaglene, AGW chief executive said of the State Government’s decision to lockdown, “We fully support the need to take strong and immediate measures to combat the latest outbreak of Coronavirus in South Australia”.

“However, we need clarity about what these measures mean for our vineyard and winery workers, and for grape and wine businesses.

“Our wineries and vineyards have proven they can operate in a COVID-safe manner, just as they did earlier this year, and as they have been doing in Victoria as it worked to successfully reduce cases of Coronavirus,” continued Battaglene.”

Battaglene added AGW is currently looking for clarity from the State Government for beyond the next six days.

“If we continue to have rolling stoppages like this over vintage, we want to be very clear on what we can and can not do in a winery and in a vineyard,” he said.

Fires, smoke damage, falling tourism numbers and increasing trade tensions have plagued Australian grapegrowers and winemakers in 2020, with the likelihood of a low vintage in 2021.

“The process of winemaking doesn’t stop after the grapes are picked,” Battaglene said.

“We know we can operate safely as an industry, to help South Australia’s economy continue to recover from a really difficult year.

“What we need now is clear advice from the South Australian Government that grapegrowing and winemaking is included in its list of essential services that can continue to operate under the new restrictions.”

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