An award-winning vineyard in New South Wales, Australia, has started ripping out almost half of its grapevines – the latest in a series of developments addressing the “Great Grape Glut” in the land Down Under.
When Australian wines made a big splash in the United States during the 1990s, thousands of acres of new vineyards were planted to meet the growing demand. But the global economic crisis has left many growers and wineries with too many grapes in the current depressed marketplace.
So, rather than pay taxes on unproductive land, some growers are opting to rip out vines.
The latest: Swinging Bridge Estate in Canowindra, which is bulldozing about 30 hectares of grapes which it grew for a major wine company.
Swinging Bridge’s Tom Ward says it’s a massive project, but it will enable him to focus on growing grapes for its own label.
“We’ve probably done about 10 hectares now and we’re certainly getting through it at a fairly rapid rate,” Ward told ABC Rural. “I think we should have most of the land cleaned up within another month.
“Then we’ll look at all the other blocks and what’s ahead, the current market and water situation, and see where we go from there.”