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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

Downy mildew impacting grape growers

There are concerns for the wine industry across Australia with wetter conditions predicting a below average vintage for 2023.

Grape growers across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have had a wetter than average summer with floods and rain affecting crops. Local reports indicate there are issues across wine growing regions, with grapes not been accepted by wine makers from vignerons.

Contract growers are delivering fruit below contracted standard as the effects of downy mildew begin to crush the industry. South Australian Member for Frome Penny Pratt said she was, “concerned for my growers here through the Clare and Gilbert Valley.”

There has been no discussion from the state government support for this issue. Ms Pratt said, “I'll be taking a tour to meet with [growers and wineries] when going to cellar doors and just starting to engage with them on how I can support them.”

With international trade tariffs with China potentially lifting on barley there are hopes that wine industry could recapture lost international markets. Federal Minister for Trade Don Farrell will be visiting China on this issue soon. Australia dropped their case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in May of 2020 China imposed an 80.5% import tariff on barley, and left wine in port unable to clear customs.

Penny Pratt toured the wine regions this week with South Australian Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Tim Whetstone. Ms Pratt said she wanted to meet with those in the regions to discuss how she could advocate for them.

“We are dedicating our time across a couple of days to meeting with this industry to make sure we're not missing opportunities to advocate for them to the state government.”


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