There is much talk of vineyard removals in South Australia. Based on information contained in the Vinehealth Register, we’ve analysed the trend in whole vineyard removals over the past few years.
Undertaking a review of whole vineyards reported as removed from the Register between 2020 and 2023, we can make a few high-level observations:
- Whole vineyard removals have been increasing, with 18 in 2020, 29 in 2021 and 32 in 2022. To date in 2023, the number of whole vineyards removed across all Zones is relatively low at 13 (Figure 1). It is expected that more vineyards may be reported as removed through Vinehealth’s Vineyard Record return process, which is now underway.
- Within each Zone, there is reasonable consistency in the number of vineyards removed per year over this time period (Figure 1). However, these vineyards equate to a very low proportion of the total number of planted vineyards in each Zone (data not shown).
- According to the Register, none of the whole vineyards reported as removed between 2020 to 2023 have been replanted as at 30 November 2023.
- Over the reporting period, there is a considerable difference in the total area of whole vineyards removed across the Zones, varying from 38 hectares in the Barossa Zone, up to 216 hectares in the Riverland Zone, excluding the Far North Zone (Figure 2).
- Despite the incompleteness of the 2023 reporting year, we can look at the relative representation of whole vineyard removal across the different Zones in the reporting period.
- Focussing on the Lower Murray Zone as largest Zone by number of vineyard owners and area under vine in South Australia – the data shows that this Zone has a slightly higher number of vineyards removed compared to other Zones, when calculated as a total proportion of vineyards contributed by each Zone to the state. The Lower Murray Zone has approximately 34% of the state’s vineyards by number. However, the whole vineyard removals for this Zone represent 41% of the total number of whole vineyards removed for the state over the reporting period. From an area perspective, the Lower Murray Zone vineyards equate to 28% the state’s vineyard area, however, the whole vineyards removed from this Zone comprised 32% of the whole vineyard area removed across the state over the reporting period.
- By comparison to the Lower Murray Zone, the Barossa Zone is underrepresented from a whole vineyard removals perspective during the reporting period. The total area of whole vineyards removed from the Barossa Zone was 5.6% of whole vineyard area removed across all Zones, compared to the area of the Barossa Zone representing 19% of the state’s planted area.
While it appears that whole vineyard removals are on the increase, the above data excludes removals of individual planting records within a vineyard.
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995 (Act) requires Vinehealth Australia to “maintain a Register of persons who own vineyards comprising 0.5 hectares or more of planted vines”.
What happens if you remove your vines or reduce your area to below 0.5 hectares?
Firstly, you must advise Vinehealth Australia’s Systems Manager Jo Bainbridge on 8273 0550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to remove you from the Register we have a formal internal process that must be met. This involves completion and return of a signed Grower Exit letter declaring that vines have been removed from the ground and the date on which this occurred. This date is then used to calculate any outstanding contributions payable.
The Act is very clear on the definition of a vine as “a grape vine, alive or dead, or any vine cutting or part of a vine”. If your vines remain in the ground, either alive or dead, and they constitute an area of 0.5 hectares or more, then the plantings are required to be on the Register and contributions payable will continue to apply.