Wine and grape growers have been dealt yet another blow with the closure of sales points due to COVID-19.
Tony Battaglene, chief executive of Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated has warned that without government investment, up to a third of the nation's 2600 wineries may be forced to close permanently.
"That could even be an under-estimate," Mr Battaglene told The Daily Advertiser
"Most of the 2600 wineries are family-owned, small operations and they've basically got no revenue which means they could be heading towards a serious financial predicament."
It comes on the back of a taxing harvest for many growers after smoke and fires destroyed vineyards across the nation.
This year's vintage is expected to be 1.4 million tonnes, as compared to the previous year's 1.75 million tonnes.
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Wagga-based boutique winery, Borambola Wines has faced its first failed harvest in 25 years of operation.
Smoke-taint due to the NSW fires over the summer has rendered their crop unpalatable.
"Normally at this stage, we would be working hard to get the harvest in, but it's just so quiet," said owner, Tim McMullen.
A popular tourism feature for the Riverina, Borambola has also had to close its cellar doors and cease tours due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Up to 22 future events, including weddings and tasting, have been cancelled or postponed at the vineyard.
It is this complete absence of visitors that Mr Battaglene worries will signal the end for smaller operators.
"Cashflow was restricted already before COVID-19 came along, we're worried some will just pack up and say enough is enough," he said.
To help the industry weather through the health crisis, Mr Battaglene said they would be fighting for federal funding.
"We're looking for cashflow relief," he said.
"Recovery will come in two parts, there will be the exports [...] and there will be regional tourism but that is 12 months away at least.
"We need to have a strategy in place to get people back into our regions once this is all over, and that strategy needs to involve food and wine."