Home' Smart Farmer : February 2010 Contents FEBRUARY, 2010 smartfarmer
SOUTH Australia's famed Langhorne
Creek wine region could be
described as recovering well from
substantial damage to its vineyards
caused by last November's heatwave.
The cabernet yield is estimated to be
down at least 50 per cent and 25pc for
chardonnay and shiraz, three dominant
varieties in the region's reputation.
The loss could be as high as 35,000
tonnes in an average year's crush of
55,000 to 65,000 tonnes.
At a time when the winegrape industry
is being urged and forced by market
realities to reduce its output, there is still
uncertainty over the extent to which the
region's estimated 150 growers will be
The chairman of the Langhorne Creek
Winegrape Growers' Association,Tom
Keelan, said the November heatwave was
unfortunate for some grape varieties in
respect to flowering and setting.
"As a rule of thumb, we don't need
grapes being cropped at high levels so
there will be more premium grapes in
the industry and we want to be seen at
Langhorne Creek vines
recover from heatwave
RIPE AND READY: After weathering massive heat losses, Langhorne Creek growers are
preparing to pick, but market uncertainties still persist.
Massive heatwave losses
Premium reputation maintained
New water supply welcomed
the higher end of the market," Mr.
"Unfortunately, while the growers are
producing less fruit they are not getting
much more for it.
"There seems to be a lot of talk about
the over-supply of grapes without a
market, but I would say there will be
minimal surplus grapes in Langhorne
Creek, which is good for growers."
Mr.Keelan said the Langhorne Creek
region was heavily dependent on the
major wine companies, which allowed it
to influence and have an impact on
their pricing structures.
For their part, the region's growers
were highly efficient, resulting in a very
good cost of production ratio.
Since last October, the region's
growers had been benefiting from a
$110 million pipeline project to Jervois,
delivering water at between 400 and
450 ppm salinity.
"We are receiving very good quality
water which will benefit cabernet
yields, which have been pretty
depressing in terms of quality, and this
looks like one of the better years for
shiraz," Mr. Keelan said.
"This year also looks particularly good
for some of our other varieties, with
good flavours coming through on the
Langhorne Creek is now regarded as
the second largest winegrape region in
SA with about 6400 hectares of
vineyards, producing consistent, cool
climate premium fruit.
The fruit is supplied to processors
around Australia with wine companies
outside SA taking a major proportion of
In a normal year, about 75pc of the
vintage comes from cabernet sauvignon
and shiraz grape varieties.
Need to know more:
Langhorne Creek Winegrape Growers'
Association 08 8537 3362
Pipeline project to
deliver water for
AFTER years of difficulties with over-supply
of grapes, market problems and getting
sufficient water, John Pargeter (pictured)
has had a direct involvement in a self-help
project to improve irrigation in the
Langhorne Creek region.
He is a director of the newly created The
Creeks Pipeline Company, a combined
winegrape grower and government project
to build a pipeline from Jervois, delivering
quality water since last October.
"Our difficulties now are the current over-
supply and the market," John said.
As a winegrape grower, trading as Angas
Vineyards, John has 200 plus hectares of
vineyards, carrying five varieties of grapes.
A couple of varieties in reduced demand
have been mothballed and, despite
previous watering difficulties, are receiving
sustaining irrigation and spraying for future
"We are one of the largest premium grape
growing areas in Australia with good soil,
good climate and now good water and the
region is certainly not a factory,"John says.
"We have a solid reputation for reds and
more recently have developed one for
premium whites. Now we are building a
reputation for premium alternative varieties."
Need to know more:
Angas Vineyards 08 8537 3337
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