Wine sector welcomes Smoke Taint Grant
Australian Grape & Wine has welcomed the government’s $5 million grant program to support wine grape producers affected by smoke taint caused by the bushfires. Designed to help wine grape producers recover and rebuild their businesses, the grants will be available in nominated smoke-impacted wine regions that are not currently activated for the $75,000 primary producer grants.
The initiative will help growers who were unable to sell grapes due to smoke damage; it is estimated that up to 60,000 tonnes of wine grapes were not picked due to smoke damage caused by the 2019–2020 summer bushfires.
“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,” said Tony Battaglene, Australian Grape & Wine Chief.
To be eligible for the Smoke Taint Grant, producers must demonstrate a smoke taint result from an eligible smoke taint test (or similar evidence) and at least a 40% decline in income since 1 August 2019.
“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 Battaglene.
Applicants are not required to prove the decline in income is specifically related to the bushfires, due to 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 more information about the grants, visit https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au.
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