Winery shift plan welcome

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Moondyne Joe cellars at Houghton in the Swan Valley
Camera IconMoondyne Joe cellars at Houghton in the Swan Valley Credit: Supplied

Wine production in the Nannup region could increase by more than 50 per cent if Houghton Wines moves its base of operation from the Swan Valley to its Nannup winery.

Houghton’s parent company Accolade Wines announced last week it was considering moving all production be moved to its Lower South West facility.

Houghton’s Nannup winery already crushes about 4500 tonnes of grapes and is more centrally located to Frankland River and Margaret River, where the majority of the brand’s grapes are sourced.

Nannup shire president Tony Dean welcomed the announcement and said Nannup was already the biggest wine producer in the State, with “big” producers including Houghton, Goundrey and Brookland Valley contributing to the majority of wine grapes grown in the region.

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“If Houghton moves to the region permanently, we could see a wine production increase of over 50 per cent,” he said.

“During the season, we have seasonal workers who come to the region for four to five months of the year, but this may mean permanent jobs,” he said.

Blackwood Valley Wine Industry Association president Troy Schoof said it could be a good thing for the region.

“It would mean the Houghton winery would be used for a long time and used to its full capability,” he said.

“I have empathy for Swan Valley but it’s not surprising when looking at how the wine industry as a whole was looking at its bottom line.”

A statement from Accolade Wines last week said it was reviewing its “operational footprint” in WA but the review did not impact on the company’s local brands.

“The company regularly reviews its operational footprint globally to ensure we are ideally positioned to meet the needs of our customers, to adapt to changing market conditions and to take advantage of opportunities,” the statement said.

“This approach ensures we remain competitive and well-positioned for long-term growth, profitability and success.”

Mr Dean said if the company did make the move, he would encourage them to open a store front, which had not been done previously. “It would give people another reason to stop in Nannup,” he said.

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