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Ripe for bumper crop

Jennifer Crawley

Tasmanian Country, Friday, 30 May, 2008

A bumper 2008 Tasmanian vintage is just part of an Australian-wide phenomenon. The expected production of wine grapes is 1.67 million tonnes, up almost 20% from 2007.

The Tasmanian vintage is expected to exceed more than 900 tonnes, almost double that of 5,039 tonnes in 2007.

Cool climate regions experienced the greatest increase in production because of improved seasonal conditions. A recent ABARE report said that drought did little to dent the figures because vines across Australia showed greater than expected resilience to drought stress.

The news is not good for warm climate regions where production of both red and white wine grape varieties will continue to be adversely affected by shortages of irrigation water.

Wine Industry Tasmania executive officer Stuart Nettlefold said that Tasmania was well positioned in the wine industry.

“There are certainly large companies eyeing off Tasmania because of the super premium wines produced here,” Nettlefold said.

“Climate change has prompted these companies to look at Tasmania. We think future investment will be good for the state as long as it’s sustainable and we can reap the long-term benefits for the Tasmanian wine brand.”

Viticulture consultant Richard Smart said the Tasmanian wine brand was creating interest interstate and overseas.

“Tasmania produces the best sparkling, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc in Australia,” Smart said. “With more production, Tasmania will establish itself as the pre-eminent state for the three varieties.”

Smart said there was room for substantial growth and development in Tasmanian wine production.

Jansz Tasmania winemaker, Natalie Fryar said growing conditions and the potential for expansion of the wine industry could ‘only be good for the industry’.

“Tasmanian fruit is highly sought after,” Fryar said.

Fryar is cautiously optimistic.

“Jansz has produced a uniquely Tasmanian sparkling wine. We want to remain custodians of that brand. Other areas of Australia don’t have that brand because of the large volume of grapes they produce,” she said.

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