COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT - Celebrating the Hunter's 2021 Grape Harvest

Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland)—I salute the great winegrowers of the Hunter Region, who are an integral part of our tourism industry. Together, Hunter vineyard and tourism industries inject $1.8 billion annually into the NSW economy. Twelve months ago, Hunter wine growers were reeling under the triple threat of heat, smoke taint and ongoing drought. Smoke taint alone reduced the 2020 grape crush of many growers. Tyrrell's Wines lost 80 per cent of their vintage.

This year, the challenges could not have been more different. Instead of blistering heat and parched earth, our viticulturists and winemakers have faced the spectre of disease born of La Nina's high moisture, and too much rain too close to harvest. The good news is: we're halfway there. The sun came out in the nick of time for the whites, and from all reports, the harvest looks promising. We now wait, with one eye on the synoptic chart and one eye to the sky, to see how the red harvest progresses.

I congratulate Hunter vineyard and tourism industries – their leaders and their employees - on making it through 2020 and its challenges, and wish them every success in the months ahead.