SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

The authors would like to draw the reader's attention to an error in the following article: Bramley RGV, Ouzman J, Thornton C. Selective harvesting is a feasible and profitable strategy even when grape and wine production is geared towards large fermentation volumes. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 2011; 17: 298305.

Table 3 of our recent paper contained an unfortunate error which, if left uncorrected, could create the impression of elevated benefits accruing to Murray Valley grapegrowers from selective harvesting. The correct table is as follows:

Partial gross margin analysis for grapegrowing of selectively harvesting fruit for ‘super premium’ (LVY) and ‘premium’ (HVY A) wines assuming grape prices of $423 and $520 for the two grades of fruit

  Harvest strategy
SelectiveConventional
LVYHVY AHVY A
Harvest cost/t ($) 993030
Harvest cost ($)51 t5,049  
155 t 4,650 
206 t  6,180
Total harvest cost ($) 9,699 6,180
Grape Price/t ($)‘Premium’ 423423
‘Super premium’520  
Grape value ($)51 t26,520  
155 t 65,565 
206 t 87,138
Total grape value ($) 92,085 87,138
Grape value less harvest cost ($) 82,386 80,958
Net benefit of selective harvest ($) 1,428(1.8%) 

Clearly, correction of this error has greatly reduced the apparent benefit to grapegrowers of selective harvesting from 9.4% down to 1.8% and so emphasises the fact that the greatest benefit from such strategies accrues to winemakers; note that the benefit to winemakers (Table 2) was correctly stated in the paper.

We re-iterate that, in our paper, we deliberately took a conservative view and elevated the costs of selective harvesting in an attempt to avoid over-selling the potential benefits. Thus, an opportunity cost was applied to the use of a less-than-full fermenter, whilst the selective harvest in the example discussed required double pass harvesting which added $30/t to the harvesting cost; in many situations, neither of these additional costs may apply. A useful way of considering the economics of selective harvesting from a grower perspective is to consider the break-even price differential between fruit grades that is required for this strategy to be potentially worthwhile. Using the example discussed in our paper, this price differential equates to the additional harvest cost, or $69/t; if double pass harvesting were not required, then the price of higher grade fruit would only need to be $39/t higher than that of lower grade fruit for selective harvesting to deliver at least some benefit to the grower (a 3.7% benefit in our example from Deakin Estate). These comments notwithstanding, the fact remains that for a grower to gain real benefit from selective harvesting, they would need to embark on the strategy with the full cooperation and knowledge of the winemaker – as was made clear in the original paper.

Acknowledgement

  1. Top of page
  2. Acknowledgement

We are most grateful to Dr Mark Krstic (Australian Wine Research Institute, Melbourne) for his comments on our paper and suggestions regarding break-even evaluation for selective harvesting strategies.

The authors apologize for this error and any confusion it may have caused.