Wine sales rise but glut remains worrisome

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 29th January 2010

Last financial year saw another decrease in wine production, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, although the glut remains a major concern for the industry.

The total grape crush for 2008-09 was 1.7 million tonnes, down by 5.4% on the previous year – while the area of grape vines fell by 157,000 hectares and the yield dropped to 10.7 tonnes per hectare.

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The crush produced 1.2 billion litres of wine, down by 5.9% on last years figure. Red/rosé wine production was 630 million litres (down 6.8%) and white wine accounted for 542 million litres (down 4.5%).

In more positive news, exports of Australian produced wine rose 5.2% (to 752 million litres) and domestic sales went up slightly to 430 million litres.

Despite the rise in exports and domestic sales, inventories of beverage wine remained at 1.9 billion litres. Red/rosé table wine stocks of one billion litres still represent more than half of the beverage wine stock held by winemakers.

The 13 largest winemakers crushed a total of 1.3 million tonnes of grapes, or 73% of the total crush. These 13 businesses averaged 98,000 tonnes each. Conversely, the 76 smallest winemakers accounted for only 0.4% of all grapes crushed and averaged 96 tonnes each.

A third of all winemaking locations were in South Australia, accounting for 43% of the national wine grape crush, the ABS added.