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After surviving record long droughts, bushfires, smoke taint, and ongoing effects of COVID-19, Hunter Valley Wine Country faces yet another challenging vintage.

While staff shortages are impacting all industries, the lack of available workers for vintage 2022 is concerning for the Hunter Valley wine industry, due to the time sensitive constraints in harvesting the grapes.

“Majority of pickers and seasonal workers have previously been backpackers and international visitors. In recent years, with international boarders being closed, vineyards have relied on older school aged teenagers looking for summer holiday work and retirees. However, this year, with the rising case numbers of COVID-19, the Hunter Valley could be looking at a shortage of 400-500 workers,” says Bruce Tyrrell AM, Managing Director at Tyrrell’s.

President of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association, Stuart Hordern, agrees the impact of a labour shortage on vintage 22 is concerning but comments “It is a problem this year but it’s something we’ll get through. Most producers are reliant on contractors for both handpicking or machine harvesting, but some of the smaller vineyards don’t have the capacity to run a crew or own their own equipment.”

At a critical time for our industry, after facing three consecutive difficult vintages, the Hunter Valley is calling on locals and those looking for temporary work to support your local wine industry. Those who are able and have the rights to work in Australia are encouraged to enquire through the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre on 02 4993 6700 or via email on vic@cessnock.nsw.gov.au.

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