Wine grape production overcomes drought

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st May 2008

Australian wine grape production is forecast to increase by 19 per cent to 1.67 million tonnes in 2007-08, as a result of improved growing conditions in key production areas, according to a new ABARE report – ‘Australian Wine Grape Production Projections to 2009-10’.

“Forecast production in 2007-08 is higher than early-season estimates because of greater than expected resilience of vines suffering from drought stress, and water purchasing by growers in drought-affected irrigation areas,” said Phillip Glyde, Executive Director of ABARE. “Despite the better than previously expected outcomes, production will be well below the record 1.9 million tonnes achieved in 2004-05.”

The greatest increase in production in 2007-08 is expected to occur in the cool-climate grape growing regions, while production in warm climate areas is likely to have stagnant growth due to the continued scarcity of water. Red wine grape varieties are expected to yield the greater growth rates than white grapes when compared to last year’s production figures.

In 2008-09, wine grape production is projected to increase further, to 1.78 million tonnes, but to remain constrained by water availability. Production, with a hope of average seasonal conditions, is anticipated to reach 2.0 million tonnes in 2009-10, assuming a return to average seasonal conditions.

The research was conducted by ABARE and commissioned by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.