According to the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), Australia’s 2013 wine harvest was the biggest in five years, rising more than 10% on 2012 to hit an estimated 1.83m tonnes.
Substantial yields were achieved despite reports of average to below average yields, following Australia’s hottest summer on record, and one of the driest.
The WFA described the growing season as ‘good’ stating that grape prices had continued to recover from the low of 2011, rising 9% to A$499 per tonne, the highest figure recorded since 2009
‘The increased crop is attributable to an absence of major events such as disease or flooding which affected previous vintages, as well as the availability of sufficient water for irrigation,’ the WFA said.
However, it added that the sustained warm dry weather had produced unusual ripening dates and a ‘very condensed harvest’ in many regions.
Demand for red grapes exceeds demand for white grapes, with prices for red up 13% to A$619, and white just 2% to A$388/tonne.
Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are the top three in terms of price increases, rising 18%, 16% and 15% respectively, while Chardonnay prices were up 6%, and Merlot, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc all rose 3%.
Interestingly, Semillon prices declined 3% and the average cost of Riesling slipped down by 0.3%.
Red wine grapes’ crop increased by 52%, with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – accounting for 86% of that figure, other varieties such as Mataro, Tempranillo, Durif, Sangiovese and Barbera are said to be of growing importance too.
Chardonnay accounted for a mammoth 45%, Sauvignon Blanc just 11% and Semillon a disappointing 9% decline. Muscadelle and Viognier also showing small increases, and Muscat Blanc increased more twice.