Half of Australian Hunter Valley vineyards ripped out

Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley (copyright distan, used with permission)

Almost half of all vineyards in Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region, were ripped out in the past eighteen months, reports the Australian newspaper Newscastle Herald based on information from the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association. Fifteen hundred of the 3,250 hectares of vineyards in the valley or 46% of the total have disappeared, especially in the Upper Hunter Valley, where the vineyards are of lower quality. According to Geoff Krieger, president of the Wine Industry Association, the worst is not over yet. He predicts that one third of the 130 members of his association will disappear within the next two years. Australia has a surplus of wine. Other problems that weigh on the Australian wine industry are the high Australian dollar, the abundance of cheap imports from New Zealand, the increasing dominance of supermarket chains, the influence of the anti-alcohol lobby and the expansion of the coal mines. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics grape production last year fell by 7.5% to 1.6 million tonnes. And according to the Winemakers Federation of Australiaeventually at least twenty percent of all vineyards have to disappear to combat overproduction.