Grape glut conundrum

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Australia is still producing far too many wine grapes, according to the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. The WFA’s annual vintage summary says the 2013 harvest of 1.83 million tonnes was 170,000 tonnes or 10 per cent higher than last year, and well above the six-year average.

Chief executive Paul Evans says the ’13 harvest followed a number of smaller harvests, but was a reminder that Australia’s wine production potential was too high, and not in balance with local and international demand. This would put downward pressure on prices and profitability.

Happily, though, quality was high in 2013 across all regions and grape varieties. “Consumers will be the big winners once again.” WFA president Tony D’Aloisio added that the increase in the 2013 crush had not been matched by a lift in demand for Australian wines, particularly in the commercial segment. “While the recent decline in the value of the Australian dollar is welcomed and an emerging global shortage may help bulk wine prices in the longer term, the sustained recovery of lost volume in international markets at profitable price-points will require a concerted effort from both individual companies and the industry on a number of fronts,” he said.

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