Sydney, July 5 (ANI): The unprecedented meltdown that Australia's wine industry is facing has driven wine prices lower than bottled water.
The price collapse and over planting has forced Australia's biggest winemaker, Foster's, owner of prestigious labels such as Lindemans and Penfolds, to sell 31 vineyards across the country.
Major wine retailer Dan Murphy's has started selling cleanskins for 1.99 dollars a bottle - cheaper than some bottled water, news.com.au reports.
Thanks to the all time low wine industry, some vineyard owners are leaving grapes to wither on the vine.
"We've seen growers who didn't bother picking their grapes this year. There is a huge oversupply and we have more grapes than we are selling, and prices are being pushed down," said wine industry critic Stuart Gregor.
A crisis meeting by winemakers concluded that 20 percent of vines needed to be phased out in the next three years to re-address the imbalance, said Winemakers Federation of Australia director Mitchell Taylor.
Apart from Foster's, Constellation Wines Australia, which owns such labels as Houghton and Banrock Station, had two wineries and 16 vineyards left for sale after placing 26 properties on the market last August.
According to wine commentator Jeremy Oliver, the fire-sale of vineyards and plummeting prices is the reality check for the industry. He estimated 20 per cent of land under vine in Australia was not needed.
"Some vineyards are just being left. People are walking away, which is leading to concern that disease could take over and spread into other properties," Oliver said.
About 1.5 million tonnes of grapes are required for the annual vintage, but this year about 1.7 million were harvested while the previous 12 months the harvest was about 1.8 million tonnes. (ANI)