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Wine sector welcomes extended relief to smoke taint

$5 million grant program

Australian Grape & Wine welcomes the Government’s $5 million grant program to support wine grape producers affected by smoke taint caused by the bushfires.

The grants will be available in nominated smoke impacted wine regions which aren’t currently activated for the $75 000 primary producer grants and are designed to support wine grape producers recover and rebuild their businesses.

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive, Tony Battaglene said “Australian wine producers are renowned for producing high quality wine grapes and given the focus on maintaining this high standard of product, many producers made the devastating choice not to pick”.

“This initiative will help those growers who were unable to sell grapes due to smoke damage – the outcome for our sector’s reputation was positive but the cost to individual growers was high – this will help address that.”

It is estimated that up to 60,000 tonnes of wine grapes were not picked due to smoke damage from the 2019/2020 summer bushfires.

“We have been advocating very strongly for bushfire relief to include smoke affected producers and commend the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, for activating this assistance package” said Mr Battaglene.

For producers to be eligible for the Smoke Taint Grants, they will need to demonstrate a smoke taint result from an eligible smoke taint test (or similar evidence); and at least a 40 per cent decline in income since 1 August 2019.

Applicants will not be required to prove the decline in income is specifically related to the bushfires. The Australian Government acknowledges the impossibility of separating the cumulative effects of the bushfires and COVID-19.

Businesses who have accessed the $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grant are not eligible to access the Smoke Taint Grant.

For details on the grants visit: https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/

Source: Australian Grape and Wine Inc

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