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 Higher wine grape production projected for 2012-13 and 2013-14

2 May 2012

Australian wine grape production is forecast to increase by 5 per cent to 1.61 million tonnes in 2012–13, assuming favourable seasonal conditions and a return to more average yields.

According to Australian Wine Grape Production Projections, released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) today, production is projected to increase further in 2013-14 to 1.63 million tonnes.

ABARES Executive Director, Paul Morris, said if these increases are realised they would represent some improvement on the less than ideal growing conditions experienced by growers in 2011-12.

“For many regions in eastern Australia, the damage sustained by vineyards during the wet 2010–11 growing season had a negative effect on the fruit set of this year’s crop,” Mr Morris said.

“As a result, vines had fewer grape bunches with smaller berries on each bunch, although the quality is expected to be good.”

The overall size of the 2011-12 wine grape production is estimated to have been 1.53 million tonnes, the lowest production since the 1.41 million tonnes produced in 2006-07.

Production across warm climate zones of the Murray Darling, Swan Hill, Big Rivers and Lower Murray is expected to be between 2 and 5 per cent lower in 2011-12 than last year.  These zones account for around 60 per cent of national wine grape production.

Yields of chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon are expected to be the most significantly affected by last year’s wet conditions.

“Given the amount of rainfall again this season across eastern Australia, there has been greater vigilance with canopy management practices, such as thinning and spraying for diseases,” Mr Morris said.

“However, despite this vigilance, heavy rainfall in late February and early March this year led to outbreaks of disease and crop losses in some regions of eastern New South Wales and northern Victoria.”

This research was conducted by ABARES and commissioned by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

The report, Australian Wine Grape Production Projections, is available from ABARES Publications.

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