Australian Grape Growers Face Crisis As Demand Plummets

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News in Brief:
– Australia grape growers face a crisis as demand for wine, especially cheaper red varieties, plummets, leading to historic lows in grape prices.
– To counter the grape glut, growers consider drastic measures such as pulling out millions of vines, with significant government support needed to mitigate the impact on local farmers.

Amidst a global oversupply crisis in the wine industry, Australian grape growers are grappling with a dire situation which could compel them to destroy millions of vines and contemplate pulling out millions more. The root cause? Plummeting demand, particularly for the cheaper red varieties that once formed the backbone of their exports.

In regions like Griffith, where agriculture thrives, the repercussions are stark as a news coverage reported. The price of grapes has plummeted to historic lows, hitting an average of A$304 per ton in 2023, down from A$659 in 2020. This drastic decline directly impacts the livelihoods of local farmers, many of whom are facing significant financial strain.

Desperate measures in response

In response to the crisis, growers are resorting to extreme measures. In the southeastern town of Griffith alone, 1.1 million vines have already been uprooted from one of the country’s largest vineyards.

Jeremy Cass, representing local farmers in Griffith, emphasises the need to pull out up to a quarter of the vines in areas the region to rebalance the market and potentially increase prices. This would entail the destruction of over 20 million vines across 12,000 hectares, a staggering 8% of Australia’s total vineyard area.

Recognising the gravity of the situation, the Australian government has pledged support to the struggling sector. However, the road ahead remains uncertain, with forecasts indicating lower growth for the industry. Meanwhile, growers are caught in a dilemma, torn between the hope for a market resurgence and the grim reality of ongoing financial losses.

Australia is not alone in facing the brunt of the wine glut. Other major producers like Chile, France, and the US are also grappling with oversupply issues. Iconic wine regions such as Bordeaux are not immune, with thousands of hectares of vines being destroyed in a bid to stabilise the market.

Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Gift Ohabughiro has a background in English and Literary Studies from Imo State University. She brings a fresh perspective to the world of agriculture writing. When she's not penning compelling content, she's likely lost in the pages of a thrilling mystery or treating herself to the sinful delight of chocolate.


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