SHIRAZ SUCCESS: Grapegrower Jamie Nietschke said the SA Winegrape Growers’ Summit reaffirmed that Barossa shiraz was the “right place to be” for his family’s Moppa vineyard.THERE was a sense of positivity at the annual SA Winegrape Growers’ Summit this year, with preliminary figures showing the crush was up 15 per cent on last season’s figures.
Wine Grape Council of SA consultant Sandy Hathaway said cool climate regions were up 35pc, while warm climate regions had a 0.6pc increase.
“We’ve got a crush slightly up but prices slightly up as well,” she said.
Cool climate cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay had a 50pc increase, while cool climate shiraz had a 30pc increase.
Pinot grishad an 80pc increase in warm regions and a 47pc increase in cool regions.
“Pinot griswas up substantially off a low base –we know there’s a lot of new plantings coming in there,” Ms Hathaway said.
SA’s total planted area declined marginally to 75,858 hectares with less than 500ha of new plantings. Shiraz accounted for 50pc of new plantings, with cabernet making up 25pc.
Winegrapes Australia general manager Paula Edwards said C grade fruit moved “far quicker and earlier” than A and B grade fruit this season.
“There’s been a real move infocus,” she said.“I think that’s a reflection of what’s driving sales and what price points are moving.”
Ms Edwards said many SA grapegrowers had not achieved a profitable return growing white grapes and the demand volume for alternative varieties remained low.
Continued strong demand for Barossa shiraz and cabernet sauvignon was pleasing for Moppa grapegrower Jamie Nietschke.
“As a Barossa grower, the message for us was Barossa shiraz is still the easiest thing to sell,” he said.”It reaffirmed we’re in the right place.”
Mr Nietschke said it was encouraging to see more positivity at the summit.
His Nietschke Moppa Estate had a “significantly” better year than last year.
“We had no frost issues and utilised irrigationbetter, whichcontributed to our increased tonnage,” he said.
Mr Nietschke said frost fans and increasedirrigationhad contributed to sustainability and reduced fluctuation inproduction.
Outgoing WGCSA chair and berry2wine principal Simon Berry underlined the precarious nature of the industry in his opening address by calling on attendees to let their voices be heard.
“We have a lot of opportunity to work better as growers and winemakers,” he said.
“We don’t want to be dominated by processors and brand owners, butwe want to be partners in jointsuccess.”
Mr Berry said the industry had lost some of its “mystique” and needed a new way of engaging consumers.
“Fine wine is doing well, we have a strong presence, but we need to recapture success across a broader range of wines,” he said.
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