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Australian harvest down nearly 30 per cent

Published:  30 November, 1999

Figures released by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) predict that the 2007 harvest, at 1.34 million tonnes, will be 29% or 560,000 tonnes lower than last year.

In terms of wine, a drop of 400 million litres is expected. The harvest will be the lowest for seven years, and the drop has been blamed on drought, frost, and bushfires.

The red share, which accounts for 48% of the total grape crush, has fallen 39% (639,000 tonnes), while the white equivalent, which makes up 52% of the total, has dropped by 17% (702,000).

The AWBC also said that yields (in terms of tonnes per hectare) will be at a 30-year low; 30% down on last year; and 28% lower than the average of the past six years.

Peter Bailey, AWBC senior analyst, said that the 'exceptional' weather conditions made it difficult to determine the overall quality of the 2007 harvest, but that the absence of disease in the vineyard is likely to mean that it will be 'good to excellent'.

He added: 'For the industry as a whole, this season is in some sense a compensator for three successive up-seasons immediately preceding it. The reduced crop this season will allow existing excess wine stocks to be considerably reduced, and to accelerate a return to more sustainable operating conditions.'

Last year, the oversupply in Australia was thought to be in excess of one billion litres; however, this figure was reduced to around half a billion.