THE region's grape producers "must remain united" as the wine industry awaits government action over the China trade dispute.
The Riverina Winemakers Association (RWA) has called on the industry to come together and make their voices heard on the matter.
RWA president Andrew Calabria said while the news to impose tariffs of up to 212 per cent on Australian winemakers would be devastating for the industry, it was still too early to predict what the accurate consequences were going to be.
"What we do know is that it poses a great risk to predominantly local and regional communities, and the impact across the Riverina will be widely felt as our growers and wineries trade across all levels of the market - from premium, commercial and bulk wines," he said.
The RWA has raised concerns about the steady decline of bulk wine prices, as well as Chinese wine drinker's preference for bottled Australian Shiraz and Cabernet wines, which make up 82 per cent of Australia's wine exports abroad.
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"These direct sales into the Chinese market must be taken into consideration as there will be long-term consequences should these wines be flooded back into our market," Mr Calabria said.
While there have been many calls for the industry to "pivot" to new markets, Mr Calabria felt more needed to be done by the government to help the industry explore this option.
"It is harder than ever to build new business relationships abroad as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
"We need hard and fast assistance to open these international pathways and the best way for that to be done is on a diplomatic level."
The chief executive of Australian Grape and Wine, Tony Battaglene, agreed that the industry needs a helping hand from the government to see winemakers and grape growers through this trade spat.
"It is vital that governments come to the party and works with the industry to help open up and expand new markets. This is not the time for a short-term sugar fix but a short, medium and long-term strategy needs to be implemented immediately," Mr Battaglene said.
Of most importance to the RWA is that clear and factual information be passed on to regional growers and wineries as they begin to manage through this tough situation.
"While the news is tough to swallow for the industry, I remain positive that we will get through these turbulent and uncertain times," Mr Calabria said.