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2010 National winegrape crush drops for a second year

Australia's winegrape crush has fallen for the second year in a row, if predictions of the 2010 harvest prove accurate.

According to a survey of the nation’s wineries by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in April – in which 360 wineries participated, covering an estimated 89% of the industry’s winegrape intake – the industry crushed 12% less fruit in 2010 than it did the previous year. The survey predicts this year’s intake will top 1.53 million tonnes (MT), compared with 1.73MT in 2009, which was a 5% fall on the 2008 intake.

This means the 2010 crush is nearly 300,000 tonnes lower than two years ago and below the five-year average of 1.68MT. WFA said the decline brought the nation’s crush closer to the current level of demand.

Comparisons between the WFA predictions for 2010 and the actual figures for 2009 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that white winegrapes had a sharper decline than red, with the white intake reducing by 15%, or 124,000t, compared with 8%, or 75,000t for red. The red intake is estimated to be 817,000t, or 53% of the total crush, compared with the white intake of 715,500t, or 47% of total crush.

The Pinot Noir intake increased by 26% to nearly 35,000t this year, accounting for 4% of the red intake, after dropping last vintage to 28,000t from 44,000t in 2008. The only other red varieties to increase their intake in 2010 were Durif to 4700t (3%), Muscat a Petit Grains to just over 1000t (76%), Barbera to 340t (92%) and Malbec to 2000t (26%).

The nation’s top three varieties all recorded a reduced intake: Shiraz by 4% and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot each by 14%, to 389,000t, 213,000t and 109,000t, respectively.

The gap between Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon has widened with Shiraz taking a 48% share of the red grape intake against Cabernet’s 26%, compared with 45% and 28% last year.

Tempranillo increased its intake by 39% to nearly 2500t. Grenache lost 36%, dropping to 9900t from 15,500t in the 2009 vintage, closely followed by Cabernet Franc which dropped 29% to 1600t. Other red varieties to show significant decreases were Mataro (Mourvèdre), dropping to 4000t (-32%) and Sangiovese, to 3000t (-15%).

Sauvignon Blanc was the third-placed white grape this vintage, putting it only 100t behind Semillon in second place. Sauvignon Blanc had an estimated crush of 76,000t, an increase of 15%, while the Semillon intake decreased by 5%, also to 76,000t.

Although the estimated intake for Chardonnay decreased by 24% to 315,000t, it is still the most crushed variety after Shiraz, representing 44% of the white grape intake and 21% of total grapes. Muscat Gordo Blanco has moved to fourth place, overtaking Colombard this vintage, with an intake of 53,000t, or 7.5% of the total white intake, a drop of 6%. The Colombard intake dropped 21% to 52,000t from 65,000t in the 2009 vintage.

Pinot Gris increased by 5% this vintage, taking it to 43,000t – a much smaller increase than the increase of 38% last vintage, when it was, again, one of the few varieties to increase tonnage. The Riesling crush fell by 11% to 30,000t. Other notable changes were Muscat a Petit Grains Blanc, up 110% to 4000t, and Palomino and Pedro Ximenes, up 34% to 400t. Sultana dropped by 67% and Trebbiano by 59%, although these come from a small base.

Source: Australian Viticulture July/August 2010
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Table 7. Australian winegrape intake, 2010

Variety

2009

2010

2010
% share

2009-10
% change

Red Grapes

Barbera

176

337

<0.1

92

Cabernet Franc

2,260

1,594

0.10

-29

Cabernet Sauvignon

247,832

213,289

13.90

-14

Durif

4,547

4,678

0.30

3

Grenache

15,487

9,932

0.60

-36

Malbec

1,509

1,898

0.10

26

Mataro

6,229

4,234

0.30

-32

Merlot

125,871

108,514

7.10

-14

Muscat a Petit Grains

652

1,145

0.10

76

Petit Verdot

20,419

18,859

1.20

-8

Pinot Noir

27,564

34,793

2.30

26

Ruby Cabernet

13,472

12,285

0.80

-9

Sangiovese

3,818

3,258

0.20

-15

Shiraz

406,375

389,267

25.40

-4

Tarrango

740

709

<0.1

-4

Tempranillo

1,756

2,449

0.20

39

Other Red

13,877

10,132

0.70

-27

Total Red Grapes

892,584

817,373

53

-8

White Grapes

Chardonnay

414,000

314,873

20.50

-24

Chenin Blanc

7,089

6,629

0.40

-6

Colombard

65,313

51,741

3.40

-21

Doradillo

1,120

695

<0.1

-38

Marsanne

1,810

1,513

0.10

-16

Muscadelle

482

376

<0.1

-22

Muscat a Petit Grains Blanc

1,810

3,800

0.20

110

Muscat Gordo Blanco

56,817

53,381

3.50

-6

Palomino & Pedro Ximenes

329

440

<0.1

34

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio

41,330

43,309

2.80

5

Riesling

34,179

30,407

2.00

-11

Sauvignon Blanc

66,252

75,863

4.90

15

Semillon

79,695

75,998

5.00

-5

Sultana

8,168

2,736

0.20

-67

Traminer

11,235

10,086

0.70

-10

Trebbiano

2,265

934

0.10

-59

Verdelho

15,255

12,416

0.80

-19

Viognier

13,985

12,226

0.80

-13

Other White

18,788

18,105

1.20

-4

Total White Grapes

839,922

715,529

47

-15

Total Grapes

1,732,506

1,532,902

100

-12

Source: ABS (2009), WFA (2010)

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