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News - Heatwave hits Australia hard

Published:  09 February, 2009

Australia's ongoing grape glut will see wine producers and growers go out of business despite the reduction of this year's crop by the record heatwave, according to John Angove.

Angove, managing director of Angove Family Winemakers and president of the South Australia Wine Industry Association, said up to 100,000 tonnes of grapes could be lost because of the recent hot spell.

Regions like McLaren Vale are reporting losses of up to 70% of their crop, he added. The situation has been exacerbated by the scarcity of water in South Australia in particular, with cash-strapped growers reluctant to invest in water leases.

'Water is still available to lease, but with the collapse in [grape] prices and the uncertainty for the grower, many have tried to stretch their water,' said Angove. 'These vineyards are suffering badly right now.'

The reduction in this year's crop may be good news for producers, but Angove warned that there were still 'many thousands of tonnes' of grapes without a home.

'Growers are in a very tough spot, maybe as tough as it has ever been for them,' he said. 'Grape prices do not provide a sustainable income... There will be casualties in the grower world and also in the winemaker world as the industry works through the problem.'