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Sangiovese continues its push into the Australian wine market
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By Peter Bailey
According to the Australian Regional Winegrape Crush Survey (ARWCS), Sangiovese is priced at a discount compared with the average of all winegrapes. In 2005–06, the average price received for Sangiovese was $532/t compared with $603/t for all winegrapes.
There are around 150 wineries using Sangiovese today. The Murray-Darling region is Australia’s largest producer, accounting for just under a quarter of Sangiovese production in 2005–06. However, the region accounted for only 9% of the Sangiovese bearing area, reflecting the Murray-Darling’s relatively high yields. On the other hand, McLaren Vale and Clare are the top two regions by bearing area with a combined 17% of Sangiovese bearing area but contributed 11% of the tonnes produced. Other significant Sangiovese-producing regions include South Australia’s Riverland and Langhorne Creek, New South Wales’ Riverina and Mudgee, Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, and Swan Hill – together these regions accounted for 40% of production.
Of the 3ha planted in 2005, half were principally planted in the King Valley, with small parcels in the Canberra District, Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley, and the Adelaide Plains. Despite the fall in production, the volume of Australian Sangiovese exported grew from just 14,000L in the 12 months to July 2000 to 1.9 million litres in the 12 months to July 2007. Of this, just under a quarter was actually labelled as Sangiovese. Of those labelled as Sangiovese, 85% were single varietals and 15% were blends.
Nearly three-quarters of Australian Sangiovese-labelled exports were shipped to the United Kingdom in the past 12 months. The USA, New Zealand, Ireland, and Japan round out the top five.