Ruined Aussie grape crop seen as a positive

Marker shows the blighted Dubbo region.
A ruined grape harvest in the New South Wales region of Australia is making some growers smile.

Ken Borchardt, chairman of Macquarie Valley Food and Wine, says the loss of hobby grape growers from the Dubbo region could help strengthen the Australian wine industry.

Borchardt, who also is the founder of Red Earth Estate winery, says the entire grape harvest in Dubbo, worth about $3 million, has been wiped out by mildew and disease from the wet weather late last year, and some "hobby" growers are pulling out vines and planning to grow cherries and other fruit crops instead of grapes.

He looks at that as a positive.

"If the weekend warriors, or those that didn't take the industry seriously, were out it would definitely open doors for us in reference to markets," he told ABC News. "Also, if the amount of fruit or wine produced for Australia was decreased, we could actually start earning a little bit better dollars. Then we could get into the marketplace and market what Australia's very good at -- producing premium high quality wines."

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