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Andre Castelluci / Wine Australia

Vintage 2018: consistent harvest to support continuing strong demand for Australian wines

Market Bulletin | Issue 121
Andre Castelluci / Wine Australia
22 Aug 2018
tagged with Vintage Report
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The Australian winegrape crush in the 2018 vintage was 1.79 million tonnes, according to Wine Australia’s National Vintage Report released today. This year’s crush was slightly above the long-term (10-year) average of 1.76 million tonnes, enabling the sector to support continued strong growth in export markets and solid domestic demand.

The average purchase price for winegrapes increased by 8 per cent to $609 per tonne, the highest level since 2008.

While above the 10-year average, the crush was 10 per cent below the record 2017 harvest of 1.99 million tonnes. Lower yields were reported across most regions, as a result of a dry winter, lower cropping after a big crop in 2017, and some seasonal events such as hailstorms and heatwaves. Warm regions were less affected than the cool/temperate regions, being down by 5 per cent overall, while the cool/temperate regions were down 20 per cent overall. This led to an increase in the warm regions’ share of the crush from 69 per cent in 2017 to 72 per cent in 2018.

Total winegrape crush in Australia 2009-2018

Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon remain Australia’s principal varieties

Australia’s most produced variety, Shiraz, accounted for 429,000 tonnes nationally, with Chardonnay second at 408,000 tonnes and Cabernet Sauvignon third at 249,000 tonnes. These three varieties combined made up 61 per cent of the crush. The same top 3 accounted for 67 per cent of Australia’s wine exports in 2017–18, with Shiraz growing by 13 per cent, Chardonnay by 2 per cent and Cabernet Sauvignon by 17 per cent in the last financial year.

The crush for all of the top 10 varieties, except Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, decreased compared with 2017. Chardonnay increased by 9 per cent after a 13 per cent decline in 2017 (see figure 2).

Figure 2

Average price highest since 2008

The lower yields and strong continuing demand led to an increase in the overall calculated average price, which increased 8 per cent to $609 per tonne – the highest since 2008. This followed a similar overall increase in the 2017 vintage. The average price for reds increased overall by 11 per cent, while whites increased by 5 per cent, corresponding with a greater reduction in the red crush (down 15 per cent compared with 4 per cent for whites).

An analysis of the dispersion of prices by colour indicates that most of the upward shift in prices contributing to the overall increase occurred in the lower price brackets and for white varieties. The proportion of white varieties purchased at below $300 per tonne in 2018 decreased from 32 per cent to 20 per cent, while the proportion purchased at between $300 and $600 per tonne increased from 55 per cent to 66 per cent. However, the proportion in the top three price ranges did not change (see figure 2). This shift would have been more pronounced if there had not been an increase in the proportion of warm region fruit in the mix.

Figure 3

The National Vintage Report 2018 can be found here. The report includes crush and price summary tables for individual regions.

Infographic: Wine Australia

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.