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Vintage 2023 estimated to be smallest in a generation

Market Bulletin | Issue 292
11 Jul 2023
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According to the results of the National Vintage Survey 2023, the 2023 Australian winegrape crush in 2023 was 1.32 million tonnes, the lowest reported crush since 2000 – 24 per cent below the 2022 crush of 1.73 million tonnes[1] and 26 per cent below the 10-year average of 1.78 million tonnes (Figure 1).

This equates to a reduction of 465,000 tonnes compared with an average vintage, or approximately 325 million litres of wine. The small vintage is expected to reduce some of the pressure on inventory levels, which were above the long-term average in 2022, as this crush is expected to translate to a level of production below average annual sales.

Figure 1: Australian winegrape crush and yield 2013–2023

Vintage conditions

A third consecutive La Niña event produced the wettest year since 2011 and it was also Australia's coolest year since 2012. Persistent winter and spring rainfall across much of South-Eastern Australia made access to vineyards difficult as well as causing flooding in some regions. The cool, wet conditions through spring and summer in some regions also led to lower yields, delayed ripening and challenges managing disease.

Further reducing the size of the crush were winery inventory pressures resulting in some yield caps being imposed, uncontracted grapes not being sold and/or vineyards being temporarily taken out of production.

Despite the difficult conditions, the low yields and cool conditions were conducive to producing high quality fruit with excellent flavour development.

Crush by state and region

South Australia retained its position as the largest contributor to the crush, with a 55 per cent share of the total, despite its second-smallest crush since 2007. New South Wales was second-largest with 27 per cent of the crush, followed by Victoria with 13 per cent. Western Australia, which overall had a very good season, increased its share to 3.5 per cent, while Tasmania and Queensland each accounted for slightly less than 1 per cent (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Share of crush by state and year-on-year change 2023


The main reduction in the crush came from the three large inland wine regions: the Riverland (South Australia), Murray Darling – Swan Hill (New South Wales and Victoria) and Riverina (New South Wales). The crush from these regions combined was down 28 per cent to 899,936 tonnes, whereas the crush from the rest of Australia's 59 GI wine regions and 26 GI zones together was only down by 15 per cent compared with 2022, at 417,162 tonnes. This meant that the large inland regions reduced their share of the national crush to 68 per cent, compared with the long-term average of 74 per cent.

Many regions crushed more in 2023 than in 2022, contrary to the overall result, including the Barossa Valley (up 34 per cent), Margaret River (up 9 per cent) and Yarra Valley (up 18 per cent).

Crush by colour

The crush of red grapes[2] in 2023 is estimated to be 711,777 tonnes – a decrease of 247,120 tonnes (26 per cent) compared with 2022, and 25 per cent below the 10-year average of 943,146 tonnes[3].

The white crush was an estimated 605,321 tonnes – a decrease of 169,601 tonnes (22 per cent) compared with 2022 and 28 per cent below its 10-year average of 839,013 tonnes (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Winegrape crush by colour 2013–2023


The smaller decrease in whites led to their share of the total crush increasing from 45 per cent in 2022 to 46 per cent in 2023.

Average price findings differ between cool-temperate and warm inland regions

The overall average value for purchased winegrapes in 2023 increased by 2 per cent to $642 per tonne. This was 39 per cent higher than the 2015 figure of $463 per tonne, compared with a total inflation across that time of 25.8 per cent[4], indicating that prices have outstripped inflation on average over the past 8 years.

The overall increase disguises different results for prices in warm inland and cool-temperate regions and for reds versus whites. The average value for purchased grapes across the cool-temperate regions increased by 4 per cent in 2023, with reds up by 3.6 per cent and whites up by 5 per cent.

By contrast, the average value for the inland regions’ purchased grapes decreased by 11 per cent in 2023, with reds down by 21 per cent to $304 per tonne, driving most of the overall decline, and whites down by 5 per cent to $399 per tonne (Table 1).

Table 1: Average value and year-on-year changes for grapes by source and colour

Most revealing in the table is that warm inland reds showed both the largest decrease in tonnes, and the largest decrease in average value. When supply and demand are balanced, a reduction in supply will normally result in an increase in price (due to competition for limited supply). The table shows that supply for inland red varieties is currently above demand, which is consistent with the global reduction in demand for commercial wines (the equivalent of below A$10 per bottle), combined with excess inventory of red wines in Australia as reported in the Production, Sales and Inventory Report 2022. Prices for inland whites were generally flat, indicating that demand is stable. Demand for whites and reds from cool-temperate regions is increasing (Figure 4), reflecting the growing preference for white wines and for premium wines in global markets. The average price for cool-temperate whites reached a record of $1391 per tonne in 2023, having grown by 43 per cent since 2015.

The National Vintage report is available here and all vintage survey statistics from the past nine years is available on Wine Australia's dashboard.

Figure 4: Average winegrape purchase value by source and colour 2015–2023

[1] Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, June 2023

[2] Grapes are classified according to their skin colour, even though some red grapes (e.g. Pinot Noir) may be used in white wine.

[3] All figures in this section are raised compared with the numbers actually collected in the National Vintage Survey, to account for the non-response rate, which is calculated to be 9 per cent.

[4] ABS 2023

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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.