The Australian wine sector will look to improve quality and ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry as the drought continues to affect the grape harvest.
Delivering its annual supply-and-demand assessment, the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation said the national grape harvest was expected to be 1.22 million tons in 2008.
That would be down from 1.47 million tons in 2007, with a further fall to 1.16 million tons forecast for 2009, according to the Brisbane Times.
The corporation said the figures reflected the impact drought conditions were having on Australia’s vineyards.
But it said winemakers remained optimistic for the future, with the current market conditions allowing for an increase in winegrape prices, a positive move toward long-term sustainability for the sector.
“The opportunity out of the predicted harvest is for the Australian wine sector to shift its focus from volume to value,” Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation chief executive Sam Tolley said.
“It is incumbent on us, as an industry, to use this period as a strategic stepping stone. The currency of our success must be measured by value and not volume alone.”
“Increasing our average dollar-per-liter price is ambitious,” Tolley added. “However, there are compelling reasons for people to choose Australian wine. Our challenge will remain telling our story with alacrity and passion.”