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Multiple headaches for winemakers

A SHORTAGE of international backpackers working on vineyards, coupled with private burn-offs and bushfires have had a damaging effect on local winemakers.

Since international borders have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas workers who would usually help pick vineyard grapes in order to ferment wine have been scarce.

Young international travellers looking to extend their Australian visa for a second year have long been the source of harvesting for winemakers, as it is a condition they work in regional areas for 88 days.

Hochkirch Wines winemaker, John Nagorcka, has found it hard to find workers for harvesting season with grapes consequentially being left on the orchards and going to waste.

“It’s a big issue this year - normally there’s 140,000 backpackers in Australia, most of whom want to do three months to extend their visa,” Mr Nagorcka said.

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