Australia’s 2006-07 wine grape harvest fell 25 percent to its lowest level in a decade as a combination of drought and frost hit the vintage hard, the Herald Sun newspaper confirms.
The Winemakers Federation of Australia said the decline had been tough on grape growers and wineries, but may prove to be a benefit in the longer term, reducing the excessive stockpiles.
“Following record production over the last three years, the wine sector has welcomed this year’s shortfall and believes that it will go some way to restoring sustainability back into our inventory balances,” federation chief executive Stephen Strachan said.
“With drought conditions likely to lead to a reduced 2008 intake, we anticipate a restoration of balanced stock levels. This means that the sale of distressed stock will stop ahead of next year’s anticipated decline.”
Strachan said smaller vintages in 2007 and 2008 should not mask the fact that the Australian wine industry needed structural change because it was over-producing.
“Under normal seasonal conditions, our vineyard production capacity still exceeds our sales capacity,” he said.
“Market growth over the next two years may redress the imbalance to some extent, but there is still compelling evidence that our vineyard capacity must decline if we are to stay on a long-term sustainable footing.”‘