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It’s a big ‘No’ from Riverland growers

By Thursday 23 May 2024No Comments

Members of the CCW Co-Operative in the Riverland have voted against a proposal by Accolade Wines to buy out some of their contracts for red winegrapes for $4,000 per hectare.

Ninety-five percent of CCW members voted “no” at the AGM on Tuesday night.

The ABC reports that 314 members voted us with only 17 in favour.

The Accolade Wines Board says it is disappointed by this decision on a number of counts.

“The package was the only measure put forward to date, by any party nationally, to support a difficult, but much-needed industry transition to a more sustainable footing,” Accolade said.

“It was also the only initiative that gave all parties some control over this process, through key terms including price, tenure, varietal mix and an optional exit package.

“It is not realistic to expect that the industry can keep operating as if global operating conditions and demand-led influences have no impact on our respective domestic interests.

“If there is no change, grower and winery businesses will continue to suffer.

“The outdated and inflexible structure of the current supplier agreement between CCW and Accolade Wines has caused significant damage not only to growers but also to the company over an extended period.

“The Board of Accolade Wines will consider the impacts of the CCW decision, and its implications.”

CCW general manager Peter Szabo told The Financial Review the proposal “offered less security”.

The CCW is Australia’s largest member-owned winegrape group with more than 500 growers producing about 200,000 tonnes a year.

In April Accolade chief supply chain officer Joe Russo said that two-thirds of CCW members would have to vote in favour of the proposal.

“Without their vote, the package cannot proceed – and the risks are much higher for everyone and the outcome much more uncertain,” he said.

“There is currently no other feasible option on the table that allows us as an industry to manage the outcome and our future.

“This package provides all growers with greater certainty and clarity.

“It allows us all to manage a difficult transition more smoothly, it allows those who wish to exit, to do so with dignity and those who want to continue, to do so with greater confidence.”

Photograph: ABC Rural (Eliza Berlage).


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