The table grape industry
Australia’s warm, dry summers and deep, rich soils provide an excellent environment for growers to produce world-class table grapes.
Valued at almost $1 billion at its peak, the table grape industry is one of the most valuable horticultural industries in Australia. Our growers produced more than 220,000 tonnes of table grapes in 2019/20 across 25,000 hectares of grapes, with 70% grown for export to an increasing number of countries and the remaining 30% consumed domestically.
Over the last few years, the table grape industry has been through a period of expansion. Hectares of non-productive land, particularly in Sunraysia, are being redeveloped into table grape vineyards and packing shed facilities, and Australia-wide new landholders are investing in existing table grape properties.
Grapes have changed the world. As one of the oldest edible plants, archaeological evidence suggests grapes were cultivated as early as 6500 BC, during the Neolithic period.
There are now more than 10,000 grape varieties known worldwide in the Vitaceae family, although grape vines are not native to Australia.
The first vines arrived in Australia along with Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet in 1788, from Brazil and the Cape of Good Hope, and were planted at Farm Cove (Wuganmagulya) in Sydney. While the crops did not bear fruit, the introduction of grape vines established a trajectory for grape production which has grown exponentially over the past 230 years.
Grape production (wine, table and dried) is now the largest fruit industry in Australia, with grapes grown commercially in every state and territory (though most production occurs in the temperate region).
Over the past 30 years, table grape production has increasing from almost 70,000 tonnes in 1999 to 220,000 tonnes in 2020.
Many table grape growers began as dried grape and wine grape producers, transitioning from the early 1980s onward. Growers Australia-wide established regional grower associations.