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Australian floods blight vintage in Riverina

Wine growers in the Riverina district of Australia are recovering from a series of 'unprecedented' floods, which have blighted an otherwise promising 2012 vintage.

A still from Australian TV showing water-damaged grapes

In late February, heavy rainfall across New South Wales led to a part-evacuation of the region, with rising water levels of up to one metre devastating many of the region’s fruit crops.

‘We acted quickly, building a levee around the winery circumference to prevent water from entering the production facility’, John Casella, owner of Casella wines in Yenda told Decanter.com.

Other wineries to have been affected include De Bortoli and McGuigan, although fortunately prior to the flooding, approximately 75%-80% of their harvest was completed.

However, growers who did not manage to harvest before the rains are now faced with plummeting grape prices, as large portions of the remaining crop are written off.

‘We’ve now got people being offered AUS$100 to AUS$150 a tonne for any variety, they were looking at, especially with Muscat Gordo and Cabernet Sauvignon, AUS$400 a tonne’, said Kristy Bartrop of the Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board.

The Board’s CEO Brian Simpson added, ‘Early estimates are that around 20-30,000 tonnes of fruit have been impacted, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Muscat Gordo.’

‘However, the 2012 vintage is looking to be a memorable one in terms of flavours due to the milder growing conditions’, he added.

Written by James Lawrence

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