25 Apr 2010

Australian wine-growing conditions lamented

7:57 am on 25 April 2010

Current conditions in the Australian wine grape industry have been described as the worst for 50 years.

Wine grape harvesting is underway in South Australia and Victoria, but Wine Grape Growers Australia says it will be done at a loss despite the removal of about 8000 hectares of vines in the Riverland and Murray Valley.

The organisation says the situation has been aggravated by a crash in prices over the past two years and an oversupply of wine grapes.

It says prices in major inland regions are as low as a quarter of their cash production costs and almost as low in premium districts as well.

The ABC reports the Australian wine grape harvest is forecast to be down by up to 20% this year.

The grape growers organisation says the high Australia dollar is compounding an already dire situation for the industry.