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Australian wine grape production down

New data has shown that Australian production of wine grapes is set to sink to a five-year low this year.

Two wet summers damaged vines in New South Wales and South Australia and production in the 2011/12 season will total about 1.53 million tonnes, down 2% on last year, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said.

This is the lowest production since the 1.41 million tonnes produced in 2006-07.

Yields of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are expected to be the most significantly affected by last year’s wet conditions.

Australian wine exports have been sliding in recent years and ABARES said it expected the Australian wine market to continue to face strong competition on the back of abundant wine supplies, the global economic slowdown and a strong Australian dollar.

ABARES executive director, Paul Morris, said: “For many regions in eastern Australia, the damage sustained by vineyards during the wet 2010–11 growing season had a negative effect on the fruit set of this year’s crop.”

“As a result, vines had fewer grape bunches with smaller berries on each bunch, although the quality is expected to be good.”

ABARES, which expects the harvest to recover to 1.63 million tonnes by 2013/14, said the quality of the current wine grape crop was reported to be good.

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