The Wine Grape Council of South Australia and Australian Grape & Wine are assisting grape and wine producers affected by bushfires.
AGW has put together a great resource with further information on available support services and ways for those not in bushfire affected regions to help those affected with their recovery.
Bushfires are affecting or will affect many wine regions around Australia this year. Vineyard owners whose vineyards have been directly impacted by fires, are encouraged to familiarise themselves with various support services available.
Bushfires are affecting or will affect many wine regions around Australia this year. Vineyard owners whose vineyards have been directly impacted by fires, are encouraged to familiarise themselves with various support services available.
The AWRI is running a webinar tomorrow at 11:30am to outline the immediate response to be taken to maximise vine recovery post a fire event. To register click here.
An Adelaide Hills Horticulture and Viticulture Industry meeting was held in Hahndorf on 2 January 2020. Vineyard and horticultural property owners, support organisations, wine associations and State and Federal politicians, including South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall and Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston among the attendees. Speakers included Mardi Longbottom from AWRI and Cassandra Collins from the University of Adelaide who shared research about vineyard rejuvenation and regeneration strategies following fire damage. A key message for vineyard owners was to be considered in their response, making use of the information resources available.
Jill Bauer from Adelaide University is co-ordinating groups of volunteers to assist with irrigation repairs to support fire affected vineyard recovery in the Adelaide Hills. Volunteer labour groups can assist with tasks such as counting posts or vineyard damage mapping. If you are a vineyard owner in need of assistance or if you would like to volunteer your time or resources please contact Jill on 0412 856 690 or email email@example.com
A number of winemakers and winegrape growers have also expressed their concerns about the risk of smoke damage to grapes. The AWRI has a great deal of resources regarding risk factors, management options for smoke affected fruit and links to research articles including management of bushfire affected vines. Winegrape growers selling grapes to wineries are encouraged to have open and honest conversations with their wineries early if they hold any concerns. AWRI provide an analytical service for testing grapes for potential damage. Further information can be accessed via the AWRI helpdesk on 08 8313 6600 during business hours or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wine Grape Council of SA and South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) have discussed and offered to the Adelaide Hills Wine Region the support of their networks and contacts once they have a consolidated list of the requirements from the affected wine community. Both organisations will continue to liaise with the South Australian State Government to identify support needed as the response and recovery continues. SAWIA will provide updates and information via their website.
State and Territory Governments have various mechanisms in place to deal with emergencies and disaster response including bushfires. In South Australia, a State Emergency Relief Fund has been activated for the Cudlee Creek area for those affected by the Cudlee Creek fire. Immediate assistance may be available for those impacted financially by the fires by contacting the Department of Human Services Recovery Line on 1800 382 787. Financial donations are possible to the State Emergency Relief Fund and can be made by visiting their website.
The Legal Services Commission of South Australia have a register of lawyers who providing free legal help to those affected by a disaster. For more information contact 1300 366 424 or email email@example.com.
Rural Business Support is providing assistance to South Australian businesses to develop and implement plans to recover including with preparation for discussions with banks, lenders and insurance companies and in generating cash flow forecasts to meet financial obligations. They can be contacted by calling 1800 836 211.
There are a number of support agencies that specialise in counselling for people affected by disasters. SA Regional Access offers free professional telephone and online counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted by calling 1300 032 186.
Australian Red Cross are also coordinating Outreach services to those in bushfire affected areas. Further information on how to seek help, or to donate to assist their work can be found here. Their Register-Find-Unite service is also available here.
Australian Grape & Wine is in close contact with the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Trade and the Prime Minister’s Office. We are seeking to work with the Federal Government to seek additional resources to support the Australian wine industry in both recovery from, and preparedness for, bushfires. This will include long-term investment in R&D for vineyard management and in-winery remediation options to mitigate smoke taint, increased funding for regional tourism and financial support for growers.
Extreme weather and fires are challenging vineyards, our homes and communities around South Australia
Our sincere thanks and good wishes go to all engaged in protecting lives and properties.
IMAGE: Eden Hills Country Fire Service posted this image of a CFS volunteer fighting the Cudlee Creek bushfire, with a koala sitting alongside them. (Facebook)
As we work to estimate the extent of the damage already done, I am sure we are all concerned about further damage to come this season.
For those not directly in the path of the fires this may include problems which may occur from smoke taint.
Our thoughts are with those who have already lost property and we offer good wishes to growers, their families and their communities during these tough times.
Heather Webster, Lisa Bennier, Amy & Sue at WGCSA
The saying ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ is resonating strongly with me this month.
Our first four EcoVineyards workshops have taken place over the past few weeks and it’s become overwhelmingly clear to me there’s a significant groundswell in regard to sustainable viticulture, balancing our ecosystems and building resilience.
We’ve been incredibly lucky to have had a diverse mix of experts presenting on a range of topics at workshops in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills and Barossa. Each workshop has also had the benefit of hearing from Dr Mary Retallack and the local EcoGrowers who have happily shared their experiences to date and their EcoVineyards project ideas. Coonawarra and Clare EcoVineyards workshops will round out the inaugural events over the coming weeks.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with growers embracing the concepts and the changes they can start to implement on their own properties to build biodiversity. Interestingly, every grower I’ve spoken to has taken something different away from the workshops. Whether it’s what native vegetation to plant, how to prepare a site, what is a biodiversity action plan, identifying beneficial vineyard bugs or learning the value of microbats – there’s been something for everyone.
I’ve also been particularly happy to receive comments from growers who will no longer be planting roses at their row ends and instead will plant Christmas Bush (Bursaria spinosa for those of you gifted individuals who understand the scientific names). Then there was the grower who has a real fear of spiders but has promised to really try hard not to kill them in future - good luck with that challenge! Remember every small step towards promoting increased biodiversity is a positive move in growing resilience in our vineyards.
I’m also thrilled to see the EcoVineyards project is generating significant state and national media interest. We’ve been profiled in The Advertiser, Stock Journal, Victor Harbor Times and more. Visit our EcoVineyards Facebook page to read all the stories and keep up to date with the latest news.
Finally, a HUGE thanks to Doc Adams Wines, Kimbolton Wines, Ngeringa, Chateau Yaldara, Wynns Coonawarra Estate and O’Leary Walker for hosting us in your regions. Your generous support is enormously appreciated. I couldn’t be more grateful to have such amazing businesses and individuals offering up your facilities and time for our EcoVineyards project.
As we head into the festive season, I encourage all our members and friends to grab a bottle or two from one or several of these fantastic wine producers and supporters of this amazing project - I know I will be!
The EcoVineyards project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program and by the Natural Resources Management Boards in each region through the NRM levy.
We're hitting the road in November and December for our first round of EcoVineyards workshops.
Come along and learn about the EcoVineyards project and how native insectary plants can be used to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards.
There will be practical EcoVineyards demonstrations and regional experts available on the day. Come and meet the EcoGrowers in your region and learn more about their project ideas.
The EcoVineyards project focuses on building resilience by incorporating native insectary plants to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards. These plants support populations of insect predators, which contribute towards biocontrol of vineyard pests.
These workshops are tailored for wine grape growers and you will learn how native insectary plants have the capacity to provide a range of benefits. Every workshop is free to attend and includes refreshments and catering.
We aim to help growers save time and resources by producing healthy grapes, with lower pest incidence while at the same time, enhancing the resilience and biodiversity of their vineyard.
The program for each workshop is a great mix of practical demonstrations (in the vineyard where possible) and knowledge sharing from industry experts and fellow grape growers.
Bookings are essential and can be made through our Eventbrite page - http://winegrapecouncilsa.eventbrite.com
We look forward to seeing you there!
You may have heard of Australian Grape and Wine but did you know that they’re here to advocate on your behalf?
South Australian wine grape growers who contribute to the South Australian Grape Grower Industry Fund (and whose main business is grape growing) automatically receive the benefits of membership to Australian Grape and Wine through WGCSA.
Often people look at the number of wine-related industry groups and wonder why there's so many. In recent years there has been a concerted effort from many of these groups to consolidate their roles in the industry. This will reduce duplication of effort and deliver better outcomes to the people they represent.
Australian Grape and Wine has achieved this at a national level with the amalgamation of Australian Vignerons and the Winemakers' Federation of Australia.
Australian Grape and Wine represent wine grape growers at a national level. Their role is to help forge a political, social and regulatory environment that enables profitable and sustainable Australian grape and wine businesses.
What does this mean for wine grape growers? It means that they support growers by keeping on top of federal issues and are ready to respond with a single, united voice. If this doesn’t sound that important, then let me take you back to the time the whole live export industry was brought to its knees by one decision in Canberra. Cattle and sheep farmers didn’t have a national advocacy body proactively looking out for their industry and it was the farmers who ultimately paid the price.
So, although you might not always see clearly what AGW do, rest assured they are constantly working in the background to ensure that our Industry is well represented to government at a national level.
Two of the big issues Australian Grape and Wine are currently working on for wine grape growers is saving Prosecco from becoming a protected GI in the Australia-Europe Free Trade Agreement and the ever-present threat from the anti-alcohol lobby. I encourage all growers to learn more about these issues as potentially they could have a significant impact on your livelihood. You can find more details plus much more on Australian Grape and Wines activities here: www.agw.org.au
The Wine Grape Council of South Australia also continues to work closely with the South Australian Wine Industry Association to ensure both organisations are working to their strengths for the ultimate benefit of our wine industry in SA.
At a recent grower meeting, many growers spoke of the importance of advocacy and how organisations such as WGCSA and Australian Grape and Wine are an insurance policy. I believe that not only are we an insurance policy but an important asset for your business.
Of course, if you have any questions or suggestions for how WGCSA can help your business, don't hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's exciting to see the vines waking up and the new vintage beginning – let’s hope we have no more frosts and can enjoy the spring sunshine!
It’s exciting times ahead as we finalise the successful wine grape growers across the state selected to be the inaugural EcoGrowers as part of our 2-year EcoVineyard project.
The response from growers to this project has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s evident there is significant interest from SA wine grape growers to investigate ways to create better biodiverse ecosystems in and around their vineyards. Although limited by the number of grower’s sites for this project we can see there is genuine widespread enthusiasm and we’re really looking forward to sharing information and knowledge more broadly through workshops in our regions. We’re confident these events will bring tangible benefit to those keen to have a go at growing resilience naturally on their own vineyard properties.
Over the coming months we’ll be introducing you to our EcoGrowers and keeping you up to date with information via the dedicated page on our website along with our social media outlets. Workshop dates and locations will be widely circulated and we hope to see you at one of these.
At this stage, we have EcoGrowers from each of the 8 major wine grape growing regions in South Australia. We have a couple of opportunities left for growers in the Riverland and Limestone Coast who would like to be a part of the EcoVineyards project. If you’re interested in being involved, send me an email at email@example.com.
There is an application process to secure a position in the EcoVineyards program. To receive funding from the program, growers must develop a Biodiversity Action Plan, contribute a cash component, and agree to an in-kind commitment of 20 hours over the life of the project to assist with the management of plantings and contributions to workshops.
In return, our EcoGrowers will receive capped funding to assist with expenses in achieving their goals along with a micro-bat box, raptor perch, photo-point, signage, monitoring and promotional activities. EcoGrowers are expected to share their experiences and knowledge with colleagues through workshops, interviews and educational materials.
As we head into spring it’s the perfect time to plant native plant tube stock and we're encouraging all grape growers and their communities to join in the EcoVineyards movement. As a way to get involved, we're asking growers, families, friends, schools and communities to consider planting some native trees, shrubs or grasses and pledge their plants to our target of 20,000 native plants by 2020. Just let us know how many plants you put in the ground and where and we’ll update our map with your pledge! (Visit our website to see the plants pledged so far and pledge your own!)
A great tip from Viticulturist Mary Retallack is to plant a native species alongside your strainer posts. As Mary says, 'Instead of trying to emulate Europe with rose bushes at the end of our rows, why don't we celebrate our native plants and gain functional biodiversity at the same time! Christmas Bush and Prickly Tea Tree are two great examples to try.'
Let's celebrate our world-class grapes by surrounding them with attractive (and practical!) native plants in our beautiful South Australian landscape.
The recent ABC Four Corners program 'Cash Splash' has ignited debate over the Murray Darling Basin plan. Many different stakeholders have written detailed responses to the program which many argue has portrayed an unbalanced view of the plan.
As part of WGCSA's membership of Primary Producers SA we have a Natural Resources Management liaison. She has put together a detailed collection of the articles and letters written in response to the Four Corners report.
From the NFF statement:
At no point during the 45 minutes of television was reference made to the fact that since 2012 the Plan had returned 2100 gigalitres of water to the river system with almost 700GL coming from efficiency and infrastructure projects. ... Or that the majority of efficiency projects were not carried out by large corporate farms but family farming operations with works valued at, on average, less than $152,000.
Ms Simson said little to no focus was given to the fact that farmers were required to sell water entitlements to the Government, i.e. return water to the environment, in order to access the infrastructure efficiency program. Therefore providing a net water gain to the environment.
"And absolutely no mention was made of the tough scrutiny that applications to access the programs are subject to or the milestone reporting and random 'spot checks' that are carried out by the Australian National Audit Office."
Ms Simson said the program also grossly misrepresented how the water trading system worked.
"There are no new water entitlements. When new dams are built or new crops are planted, water must be purchased from the market – in other words, from other farmers."
"And currently, because much of the Basin is in drought, there are no allocations available for farmers or the environment."
To read the open letter from the scientists, click here.
A presentation from ACCC Deputy Chairman Mick Keogh at the 2019 Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference started so many conversations around me that it's obvious that the topic of contract terms is a hot issue at the moment.
During his presentation, Mick Keough took aim at contract terms. Darren Gray reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, 'Mr Keogh urged those in the audience who thought extended payment terms were justified, to consider the somewhat radical "proposal" he outlined.
"As a wine consumer, I think I should be able to select a bottle of wine off the shelf, and decide what it’s worth. I pay one-third of that when I leave the store.
"I'll pay a second one-third payment in six months, and I'll pay the balance when I get around to drinking it, which could be years in the future," he said.
"If you think this is a ridiculous proposal, then perhaps you need to reflect that this is essentially how the current contract and payment terms operate for wine grape growers," Mr Keogh told the crowd at the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide.
Our National body, Australian Grape & Wine (AGW), has written a submission to the ACCC's interim report which you can read here. We welcome AGW's proactive approach to the report and their detailed submission which will be taken into account for the final report from the ACCC.
So what’s the Wine Grape Council of SA's role in wine grape contracts? As contracts are a commercial agreement, we cannot provide advice or advocate on growers' behalf. However, our website has a wealth of information, including a great guide on how to sell grapes written by Viticulturist Dr Mary Retallack, to assist growers with selling their grapes.
The biggest thing that hit me during Mick Keogh's presentation was the need for transparency and this is something that Australian Grape and Wine has also echoed.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something, you'd like to share about payment terms for wine grapes.
From 31 August 2019, labour hire providers (including vineyard contracting providers, picking and pruning gangs) must be licensed under the South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 when performing "labour hire services".
Providers and clients of can be subject to a $400,000 penalty and/or 3 year imprisonment when in breach of their obligations.
The South Australian Wine Industry Association are running a number of briefings across the state to help the wine industry prepare.
This practical briefing designed for wine industry employers (wine producers, vineyard owners and wine grape growers) and providers of vineyard contracting services will assist you in being across your new obligations and minimise the risk of penalties.
The following key topics will be covered:
FEEL FREE TO INVITE YOUR CONTRACTOR/PROVIDER TO REGISTER
BAROSSA: Wed 24 Jul, 9am-11.30am (The Vine Inn, 14-22 Murray St, Nuriootpa)
ADELAIDE HILLS: Thur 25 Jul, 9am-11.30am (The Manna, Business Centre, 25 Mount Barker Rd, Hahndorf)
LANGHORNE CREEK: Mon 29 Jul, 9am-11.30am, (Langhorne Creek Hub, 79 Bridge Rd, Langhorne Creek)
COONAWARRA: Thur 1 Aug, 9am-11.30am (The Stables, Katnook Estate, Riddoch Hwy, Coonawarra)
RIVERLAND: Thur 8 Aug, 9am-11.30am, (Berri Hotel, Riverview Dr, Berri)
MCLAREN VALE: Wed 14 Aug, 9am-11.30am (McLaren Vale Tourism Centre, 796 Main Rd, McLaren Vale)
CLARE: Thur 15 Aug, 12-2.30pm, (Mr Mick's Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic St, Clare)
To find out more, or book, click the button below.
Are you prepared for Labour Licensing Act to be enforced?
After much uncertainty, the South Australian Government announced on 7 June that the Labour Hire Licensing Act (the Act) will be enforced from 31 August 2019 after motions to repeal the Act failed in the Legislative Council.
Consumer and Business Services announced the news and will be responsible to managing and enforcing the new labour hire requirements. Applications for licenses will open on 14 June 2019.
The South Australian Wine Industry Association has put together a notice for WGCSA members outlining all of the changes and what will be required once the Act is in place.
SAWIA Notice to WGCSA Members
The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) took the lead arguing for sensible and practical changes to the licensing scheme since it was introduced by the former State Government. Through our advocacy SAWIA was able to obtain a number of important improvements to the Act. SAWIA supported the Marshall State Government’s repeal legislation and given the number of fundamental issues remaining with the Act, continues to advocate for the legislation to be repealed.
The Act establishes a licensing scheme for providers of “labour hire services” and makes it unlawful for clients, including wineries and wine grape growers, to engage unlicensed providers of “labour hire services”.
THE ACT: KEY PROVISIONS
- A licence will be required where:
- A provider applying for licensing must demonstrate they are a “fit and proper person”, including
compliance with 13 different laws and prior business experience.
- A provider must upon application pay the $1,788 application fee (less for a natural person
registering) and thereafter the $1,226 annual licensing fee (less for a natural person).
- A public register of current licensees and applicants will be available online via CBS.
BREACHES OF THE ACT
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
LABOUR HIRE BRIEFING SESSIONS
To assist wine industry employers, including grape growers, in complying with the Act, SAWIA will be
running briefing sessions across South Australia’s wine regions commencing 24 July 2019. Further
information will be distributed later in June.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND ADVICE
For further information and advice, members of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia can contact SAWIA’s Business Services Manager Henrik Wallgren T: 8222 9270, E: email@example.com.