THERE'S little joy for winegrape growers in Victoria's northwest, with wineries indicating prices will be similar or lower than this year.Murray Valley Winegrowers executive officer Mark McKenzie said the picture was less than positive for growers.
Mr McKenzie said there was likely to be some improvement in prices for shiraz, little change to chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot prices and a $50-$60 a tonne drop in the price for gordo grapes.
''The five wineries we've spoken to represent very significant tonnages and it's disappointing not to see the continued incremental improvement,'' he said.
Earlier this month, Mr McKenzie urged the wineries, which include Treasury Wine Estates, Orlando Wines and Accolade Wines, to raise prices to more sustainable levels.
He said prices for most varieties had increased last vintage, but prices for chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and shiraz grapes remained below the cost of production.
''These three varieties represent over 50 per cent of the wine grapes grown in the Murray Valley, so until they move back above break-even, we cannot claim that our vineyards are in a sustainable financial position,'' he said.
''Vineyard businesses will remain at very significant financial threat until all of our major varieties are back at well above the average cost of production of $357 a tonne.''
Mr McKenzie said growers were unable to cut costs any further, had sacrificed vital vineyard inputs like fertiliser to remain in production, and were still labouring under significant debt loads.