SA wine industry secures $1 million commitment

By Samuel Squire

One million dollars in South Australian Government funding will be rolled out over the next four years to support new development projects in the state’s wine industry, equating to just under $21,000 a month.

The funding agreement with the South Australian Wine Industry Association will allocate $250,000 a year to winegrape growers and wineries which have been hit hard by drought, bushfires, government measures to control the spread of COVID-19 and the loss of the Chinese market over the last year or so.

Chair of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGCSA) Adrian Hoffman told Daily Wine News that while any funding is greatly appreciated and helpful, the amount presents a “concern going forward” for an industry hit by a drop in regional tourism from border closures, the closure of the Chinese export market, and the impacts of COVID-19.

“Any money that we can get from government to help […] is a bonus,” he said, “My concern going forward is the wine industry has been hit with a double whammy with COVID-19 and with the Chinese wine decision with [our] exports, which has really affected the market for various regions”.

“What I’m hearing is, while Australian borders are [closed], and unfortunately, with what’s happening in Victoria, [COVID-19] has definitely had an impact on tourism within South Australia.

“So any sort of funding [for] wineries and growers [to] build experiences for people to come can help, but while we’re still struggling with COVID-19 going forward, it’s going to be fairly tough for the industry to pick up.”

Hoffman continued that, although the amount “doesn’t sound like a lot”, this new funding initiative comes on top of other grant schemes available for the state’s wine industry, which he said is “great to see”.

In a press release from the Premier of South Australia, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said providing a funding agreement to 2026 gives the wine industry “certainty”.

“[State] government funding for SAWIA has been highly successful in supporting the development of the wine industry across every region of South Australia, and we acknowledge the importance of this program continuing into the future,” Minister Basham said.

“The wine industry plays a pivotal role in the state’s economic fortunes, so it is important we continue to assist wine grape growers and cellar doors where we can.

“This agreement will guarantee the future of SAWIA as a strong industry development organisation through until 2026, leading to a continuation of support that has been vital to our iconic industry during a challenging period.”

In the release, SAWIA president Nick Waterman welcomed the $1 million funding commitment, noting it had seen the delivery of key projects in the areas of responsiveness, business planning and financial literacy workshops and consumer education.

“This support allows us to continue to improve business resilience, future planning and development in the wine industry, which in turn is of benefit to the state’s economic growth, particularly in our wine regions across South Australia,” Waterman said.

“Having certainty for this funding allows SAWIA and the wine regions in South Australia to develop pathways that will continue to deliver measurable benefits to the industry and the state.”

Nick Waterman was contacted by Daily Wine News for further comment, but was unavailable at the time of publication.


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