Viticulture

Grape testing rebate applications to close soon

By Country News

Winegrowers assessing smoke taint from recent bushfires who want to receive a rebate of up to $1200 will need to apply by Thursday, April 30.

The Victorian Government Wine Grape Testing Rebate Program provides a reimbursement to growers who have paid for their wine grapes, grape juice or wine samples to be tested by a laboratory for smoke exposure.

An Agriculture Victoria spokesperson said it was important the Victorian Government support wine grape growers to test their grapes.

“The program has been well received by wine industry bodies and we expect wine grape growers will continue to claim the rebate over the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

“We encourage any eligible growers to claim the rebate, which is up to $1200 per business, and put that money back in their pocket.

“Test results are provided to growers to give an indication of the level of smoke exposure and this allows the grower to make a more informed decision about their current vintage.”

Wine by Sam owner Sam Plunkett said his grower participated in the program, which determined the degree of influence the smoke had on the grapes.

Mr Plunkett said thanks to the analysis, he was able to use the affected grapes in a blend and support the grower’s income.

“We knew a parcel had smoke taint from a grower's analysis but we were able to bring it in because we knew it had a small percentage and that it could still be used,” he said.

“The funding is valuable because it identifies the degree of damage and lets winemakers decide the commercial value of the fruit.”

Mr Plunkett said the issue of bushfires had shrunk due to the coronavirus, which has had a huge influence on winegrowers.

He said although Wine by Sam's revenue had diminished, his market had simply shifted to online sales.