Australia’s grape success with 2021 harvest

There will be a lot of 2021 red wine looking for a home. (Photo: Pixabay)

Australia’s 2021 wine grape harvest was a great success, high in both quality and quantity, and a bounce-back after the disappointingly small 2020 and 2019 harvests. In contrast to New Zealand’s painfully small vintage (down by 19%), Australia’s was 31% higher than 2020 and 19% higher than 2019, producing a record 2.03 million tonnes of grapes.

The season was characterised by near-perfect growing and ripening conditions across most states and regions, according to Wine Australia’s 2021 vintage report.

“Good fruit set, plenty of water at the right time, lack of heatwaves, low disease pressure, and favourable harvest conditions have resulted in a high-yielding, high-quality vintage,” Wine Australia’s spokesperson Rachel Triggs said.

“To make the most of our opportunities in markets such as the US and the UK, the balance in supply between red and white grapes may need to change.” – Rachel Triggs

But there’s no concern about over-production. The last three years, when averaged out, are only a little above the 10-year average.

Reds were the main contributor to the increase, especially shiraz. Shiraz production was up by 41% to a record 538,400 tonnes. Its share of the red varieties was 46%, and 27% of the total crush.

There was concern before the vintage that the punitive Chinese tariffs might have a downward effect on grape prices, but this did not happen. There was a small decline in red-grape prices, offset by a rise for whites.

This indicated that demand was shifting towards whites.

“To make the most of our opportunities in markets such as the US and the UK, the balance in supply between red and white grapes may need to change.

“We are working closely with Austrade to grow our exports in emerging Asian wine markets such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, where there has been strong growth in recent times and where consumers strongly favour red wine,” Ms Triggs said.

There will be a lot of 2021 red wine looking for a home, as the Chinese market, now all but defunct, was strongly skewed towards red.


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