Revised forecast for Oz harvest

01 October, 2007

Australia’s drought could cut next year’s wine grape harvest by more than a half.

The 2008 vintage is likely to fall to between 800,000 tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes, compared with a normal crop of around 1.9 million tonnes, according to predictions by the Wine Industry Drought Taskforce, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers’ Australia.

The range of the estimated shortfall demonstrates how difficult is it to determine an early insight into actual yields, the three industry groups have said.

Yields will decrease in regions that depend heavily on irrigation water from the Murray Darling river, meaning that next year’s harvest is likely to see a notable change in mix from fruit sourced from inland irrigated regions to cooler areas in Australia less affected by drought or water access issues.

The Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation is still predicting growth in total sales to the UK market for the next five years, despite industry fears that bulk sales will be the first exports to come under pressure.

A revised forecast is expected to be announced towards the end of November.

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