Throughout May Australian Vignerons was a part of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia's grower roadshows. The roadshows brought together the main organisations for wine grape growers to one location in each of the six main wine grape growing regions of South Australia.
The roadshows were an opportunity for growers to learn from the organisations here to help them. However, the highlight for Australian Vignerons was the chance to meet growers face to face, listen to their concerns and take a list of priorities back to Adelaide to work on.
Our presentation to growers
The key message of the Australian Vignerons (AV) presentation was highlighting the importance of representation at a national level. In a nutshell, AV exists to represent growers on national issues determined by the Federal Government. AV is recognised under the Wine Australia Act as the representative organisation for winegrape growers.
Why is a national voice needed?
A strong national voice is insurance against poor policy that may have a negative impact on your businesses and livelihood.
An example of where the absence of national advocacy had a catastrophic effect on an industry is the 2011 live cattle export shutdown. Exports of cattle dropped 42% in one year, farmers were hit hard and many associated businesses suffered. A Senate report has since found that the cattle industry was unable to provide effective advocacy and that this contributed to the low level of understanding within the government which led to the industry shut down.
AV exists to prevent a similar event happening in the wine industry. We're here to represent the voice of growers independently but to also combine forces with Winemakers' Federation of Australia on areas of common interest.
What did growers have to say?
The main feedback we had from growers on national issues was concerns about delayed harvesting as a result of legislation changes (more on that later), the threat of anti-alcohol lobby groups and greater clarity on the roles of each grower organisation.
What are we working on?
Grower feedback has given us a great list of priorities to work on alongside our usual day to day activities.
How can you get involved?
Your feedback and thoughts are what we use to determine the way forward. Our volunteer independent board is made up of industry experts here to help growers. Please don't hesitate to get in touch and have your say.