Oz vintage exceeds expectations

27 August, 2008
Page 5 
The Australian vintage is better than expected both in quantity and quality, according to the Winemakers' Federation of Australia.

The WFA's 2008 survey reveals a total of 1.83 million tonnes - double some of the early predictions.

Federation chief executive, Stephen Strachan, said: "The figure of 1.83 million tonnes represents a resounding success in a challenging year and is testament to the resilience and adaptive nature of our regional growers . "

Red grapes accounted for 53 per cent of the total intake, a rise of 45 per cent over 2007. White grapes were only 18 per cent up. Aromatic varieties continue to increase in plantings, with Pinot Noir rising 63 per cent to just over 47,000 tonnes (2.6 per cent of the total crush) and Sauvignon Blanc up 74 per cent to more than 66,000 tonnes (3.6 per cent of the crush).

Strachan warned: " With pressure around water shortages, a strong Australian dollar and tough international market, we can no longer compete on price alone.

"This year most producers only purchas ed the volume of grapes needed to meet their existing requirements. This large harvest underlines the fact that structural change is required to have a sustainable future."