Our ageing populations will impact each and every industry. Even the business of wine growing is feeling the effects.
Rock bottom prices are forcing wine grape growers to sell water and diversify crops just to make ends meet. While younger growers can diversify crops and wait for prices to improve, older growers don’t have the luxury of time.
The Riverina district in the Australian state of New South Wales is a case in point where growers average 65 years of age .
The Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board chief executive was quoted as follows; “We have a lot of financially stressed growers and perhaps one of the most concerning issues is the ageing population”.
This in part because if the older generation hasn’t had success, it will be harder to get the next generation to step up and take over.
Further compounding the problem is that a lot of grapes in some regions were planted in the ’90s and need replacing, meaning physically demanding work for older growers.
Wine growing, like most work environments, is not sympathetic to the physical needs of older workers.
It would be fascinating to conduct an Age-Friendly Workplace audit for the wine growing vocation as a means to identify and remove barriers that enable older workers to continue their economic contribution longer.