Drink and be merry as the Murray Valley wine industry is on the up

THIS year's wine grape crush survey report for the Murray-Darling and Swan Hill, released on August 2, shows the region's wine industry is riding a high. 

Good news for the region's wine producers with all major varieties seeing an increase in price.

Good news for the region's wine producers with all major varieties seeing an increase in price.

All major varieties saw an increase in price, with the reds proving to be the big winners for the 2017 round. 

The average price of Cabernet Sauvignon has increased by 22 per cent to $403/tonne and Shiraz has come in with a 24 per cent increase on 2016 with $395/tonne. 

Compared with last year's results, growers' income has increased by 22 per cent having been paid $90.7 million dollars for their 254,000 tonnes produced. 

Murray Valley Winegrowers executive officer Mike Stone said the results were "definitely" hopeful.

"It's the second consecutive increase for the Murray Darling and Swan Hill region in the average price, the high year for us was 2015, but it's fair to say a good part of the past decade has been very difficult for many of our growers," Mr Stone said. 

"For example, in 2015 the prices for key red varieties fell below 300,000 a tonne for a long time, but we saw a gradual lift." 

Mr Stone said this year's survey results have created a more optimistic environment for a struggling industry.

"People do need to remember its coming from a very low base, we are still crawling back from a decade slump," he said. 

The report also revealed that independent growers accounted for 254,160 tonnes, up seven per cent, while overall production from both growers and winery owned vineyards was down from 2016, a result Mr Stone attributes to one vineyard. 

"The reason why the winery vineyards have dropped is particularly because one very large vineyard a winery used to lease was sold and has pulled out," he said. 

The whites delivered strong results in the survey, particularly the region's largest variety Chardonnay, achieving over $300/tonne for only the second time in the past nine years, with an increase of 9 per cent. 

However it was Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that achieved the biggest increases.

Semillon is up 15 per cent on 2016 with $253/tonne this year compared to $220/tonne in 2016 and Sauvignon Blanc is sitting at $398/tonne compared to $348/tonne in 2016, resulting in a 14 per cent increase. Mr Stone said the outlook for the Murray Valley wine region was positive again for next year.

"It's mainly due to the fact that Australia is exporting more wine at a higher value, particularly to China," he said.

"Supply around the world is tightening and that is why you are seeing an improvement in prices, instead of being over supplied we are now moving into a period of balance and perhaps even under supply."

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