Bushfire support open for wine grape growers

12 October, 2020 by Andy Young

Apple and wine grape growers can now apply for grants to help them after orchard and crop loss from the Black Summer fires of 2019-20.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said that governments recognised the unique hardships faced by apple and wine grape growers after the bushfires.

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“Estimates indicate more than 170 hectares of apple orchards need to be replaced and more than 60,000 tonnes of wine grapes were affected by smoke taint,” said Minister Littleproud.

“We also know a large number of wine grape growers, though not directly impacted by fire, had their grapes rendered unusable for wine due to smoke taint.

“The $5m Wine Grape Smoke Taint grant program will assist these growers to re-establish.”.

Wine grape growers who suffered crop loss due to smoke taint in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory but whose vineyards are outside of bushfire activated areas can access up to $10,000 to support their recovery efforts. The growers will need to show that they have experienced a decline in revenue or grapes harvested of 40% or more over a three-month period

The wine grape smoke taint grants may be used to cover salaries, rent, wages, utilities, equipment, fuel, business development, building resiliency and/or financial advice.

Apple and wine grape growers will be required to provide a co-contribution to the value of the grant they apply for.

This $36m support package for apple and wine grape growers is in addition to the Government’s commitment of more than $242m for primary producers, growers, and the forestry industry.

Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine welcomed the announcement saying fire and the impacts of smoke will continue to have long term impacts on viticulture in Australia.

“The $5m Wine Grape Smoke Taint grant program is welcomed as it will assist growers, in some measure, to survive in a very difficult year,” Battaglene said.

“Wine grape growers who suffered crop loss due to smoke taint in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, but whose vineyards are outside of bushfire activated areas, can access up to $10,000 to support their recovery efforts.

“The growers will need to show that they have experienced a decline in revenue or grapes harvested of 40 per cent or more over a three-month period. The Wine Grape Smoke Taint grants may be used to cover salaries, rent, wages, utilities, equipment, fuel, business development, building resiliency and/or financial advice.

“The value that the grape and wine sector provides to our exports, tourism and the social and economic health of regional Australia is huge. We welcome the government’s strong support for the grape and wine sector and will continue to work with them to help development of an industry that is more resilient in the future.”