Wineries make plea to workers from cities

Originally published in Borderwatch – Charlotte Varcoe

Wineries may be calling for city workers to come to the Limestone Coast and Coonawarra with international workers difficult to come by as vintage season approaches.

Warmer weather and plenty of rain from last winter has set up local wineries for another good vintage.

Due to international borders remaining closed until February 21, Patrick of Coonawarra director and winemaker Luke Tocaciu said companies may now look to city workers to fill the gaps.

“We have seen this difficulty for the last two years and there have been challenges to get workers from pruners right through to pickers,” Mr Tocaciu said.

“Due to the difficulties with international workers at the moment, we do have a mixture of contractors for labour hire for picking and hand picking which has been a challenge.

“We will try and entice some workers from the cities as well and when it gets really busy we are going to try and get some farmers to come and work the tractors for us when they have finished harvesting themselves.”

Mr Tocaciu said, despite the difficulties facing the industry, the weather from the previous winter and the continuing warm weather this summer allowed for a great vintage season.

“We have had some interesting weather and some really good rainfall during winter last year which has set us up well for the season,” he said.

“The water has stayed in the ground which really lets the vines take off once there is a bit of nice weather around and it is really good for the roots.”

Despite a cold spring season delaying flowering, Mr Tocaciu said the quick, warmer weather fixed it up quite nicely.

“For good development of the grapes we need nice, calm and warm weather which happened around the end of November and from there it has been quite warm,” he said.

“Vintage is looking a bit lighter than last season but we have similar conditions and the vineyards look really good with crop levels.

“We are looking at less crop than last year but it is still around average which is good.

“Generally if we have a large vintage the year before, the following year is smaller,” he said.

“However this year looks nice and consistent.”


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