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Winegrape harvest value nosedives

Mike Stone, chief executive of Murray Valley Winegrowers’ Inc. reported on 9 August 2005 that an extra 46,600 tonnes of wine grapes were produced by growers in the Murray Valley NSW/VIC this year, but the value of the harvest dropped more than $11 million on the 2004 result.

About 442,000 tonnes of wine grapes worth $213 million were harvested in the Murray Valley this harvest – the biggest to date, eclipsing last year’s record by 12%. However, last year’s 396,000 tonnes had a value of $224 million.

Mr Stone went on to report that the latest Wine Grape Crush Survey, compiled by the Department of Primary Industries for the Murray Valley Winegrape Industry Advisory Committee, reveals a total crush in 2005 of 442,630 tonnes. White varieties accounted for 256,851 tonnes (up from 230,485 tonnes), while red varieties came in at 185,778 tonnes (up from 165,566). More than 30 wineries responded to the survey.

The most popular of the premium varieties were Chardonnay (135,000 tonnes), Shiraz (65,000 tonnes), Cabernet Sauvignon (59,000 tonnes), Merlot (41,000 tonnes) and Colombard (33,000 tonnes). The multi-purpose varieties Sultana and Gordo produced 34,000 tonnes and 27,000 tonnes, respectively.

Looking ahead, the only varieties the survey suggests may be under supplied next year are Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz and Viognier. The outlook for all other varieties is balanced or over supplied. Mike Stone cautions that growers regard the estimated/preferred projections with scepticism, and never use the data alone to make planting decisions.

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