Poor Murray Valley grape yield in 2011 vintage

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th September 2011

The volume of grapes crushed for wine in the Murray Darling and Swan Hill regions fell by more than 20 per cent in the 2011 vintage, according to a survey published today by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

The Murray Valley, incorporating the Murray-Darling and Swan Hill wine regions, contributes up to 25% of Australia’s wine production for worldwide brands such as Deakin Estate, Jacob’s Creek, Lindemans, Tall Poppy, Trentham Estate and Zilzie.

The DPI’s survey found that the total crush for wine in the Murray Darling and Swan Hill regions declined from 328,147 tonnes in 2010 to 256,398 tonnes this year. It also found that in 2011, a further 24,408 tonnes were processed for concentrate.

DPI Regional Facilitator for Murray Darling and Swan Hill, Kristen Pitt said wineries growing and purchasing fruit had for the first time this year reported on fruit crushed for concentrate or distillate. Poor seasonal conditions had resulted in a higher disease rate and some lower quality fruit.

Ms Pitt said the estimated value of all wine grapes crushed in the two regions fell from A$96.3 million in 2010 to A$73.6 million this year (A$77.7 million including the value of grapes crushed for distillate and concentrate).

Ms Pitt said, “Growers met 78 per cent of demand for white wine grapes and 81 per cent of red.

“The calculated average purchase value per tonne for many varieties decreased again in 2011. Two exceptions to this were Chardonnay and Muscat Gordo Blanco, which increased their calculated average purchase value.”

The Murray Darling/Swan Hill Wine Grape Crush Survey is to be conducted annually by DPI on behalf of the Murray Valley Wine Grape Industry Advisory Committee, which comprises winery and grower representatives.