Wagga wineries are hopeful and optimistic that talks between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping could lift sanctions against Australian wine.
In 2020, tensions between Australia and China nosedived when the Australian government called for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government was fuming at the move and launched a trade war with an official sanction on Australian exports to China, including an unofficial ban on wine.
Mr Albanese promised to raise the issue of wine on his trip to China, with the country agreeing to review its wine ban.
In other news
Tim McMullen, the director of Borambola Wines, said the talks came as a relief for wineries and winegrowers, after the sanctions resulted in excess wine being stored across the country.
"A lot of wineries, like small ones like ourselves, relied on that market or had good custom in those markets, so if you lose a market, it's a chunk of your income," Mr McMullen said.
The winemaker said the ban had been hard on wineries as China forms a significant part of the wine market.
However, Mr McMullen said he was optimistic the Chinese demand for wines would open up trade.
"It's not gonna be like a switch and it all happens again, it will take time," he said.
"I've been in contact with my customers in China and they're asking about pricing availability timelines."
The story is not much different at Tumblong Wines.
Its general manager, Simon Robinson, said the excess wine storage had led to losses because there had been no demand for fruit.
"People are leaving fruit on the vines, we left 400 tonnes of fruit on the vines," Mr Robinson said.
Both winemakers believed the rational approach was for cool heads to prevail and for trading to begin to resume as normal.
"If there's a removal of tariffs, the tariffs amount to 200 per cent, we would be competitive again. We would be able to trade again in a competitive manner," Mr Robinson said.
Mr McMullen said politicians should be smarter about the issue and consider the impact their rhetoric on China has had on businesses exporting their goods there.
"The government at time was smart about it, almost smug about it and China slapped them across the face, and it wasn't the politicians who suffered, it was all the wine, barley, lobster [industries] who bore the brunt of that," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.