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The Australian harvest is estimated to be up 1% on last year, reducing hopes that the country can overcome its major oversupply problems.
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia has estimated the 2011 harvest at 1.62 million tonnes – well ahead of market expectations which have been as low as 1.1 million tonnes.
Riverina and the Riverland both increased their share of the crush but the cooler regions generally were down, according to the WFA.
Chardonnay was the biggest mover with the harvest up 23%.
WFA chief executive Stephen Strachan said: “Vintage 2011 should allow Australia’s diversity to shine through. It also marks a return to the seasonal differences and volatility that usually are the norm after many years of the consistent, albeit difficult, conditions that drought brings.”
The trend towards bulk wine exports continued last year, as did the shift away from the traditional markets to new and emerging ones including Canada, China and Germany, he added.
Wine Australia’s UK and Europe head Yvonne May praised brand owners for being “vigilant in their quality control with many exerting very strict control over the fruit with which they were prepared to work this year”. But she admitted given the total volume “it is likely that there will be continued trade in bulk wine and opportunistic brands from Australia”.
She added: “Early indications are that there will be some stunning wines coming out of a great number of our regions.”
Story by Laura Clark
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review