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Tuesday 7 July 2020

By the numbers: The Australian wine vintage of 2020

The Australian wine grape crush in 2020 was 1.52 million tonnes – the equivalent of over 1 billion litres of wine, the National Vintage Report 2020 released by Wine Australia shows.

The 2020 crush was 12% lower than the 2019 crush, and 13% below the 10-year average of 1.75 million tonnes.

It was the smallest crop since 2007 but was most similar in terms of yield to 2010 - a year of exceptional wine quality - when the crush was 1.61 million tonnes. 

The vineyard area then was about 4% higher than the current area.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said while the crop was down, wine quality was expected to be high. 

Autumn temperatures were generally around average or slightly cooler, leading to ideal ripening and harvesting conditions, and the reduced yields have resulted in more concentrated colours and flavours in the berries.

"This vintage will enable us to continue to meet our targets of value growth in premium wine market segments, although the constrained supply will restrict overall volume growth in the next 12 to 24 months," Clark said.

Continuing strong demand for Australian wine is reflected in the 5% increase in the average value of grapes, which has increased by a compound average of 5% per year for the past six years.

The total value of the wine grape crush is estimated to be $1.07 billion, with an average value of $694 per tonne compared with $663 in 2019.

A smaller crop was widely anticipated given a number of seasonal factors, including bush fires. 

Clark said that the wine sector had made significant investments in research and development, leading to improved vineyard management techniques and water use efficiency since the last drought.

He said crop losses due to fire and/or smoke damage were reported in around one-quarter of Australia’s wine-growing regions; but the overall reduction due to direct damage or smoke effects was estimated to be less than 40,000 tonnes, or 3% of the total crush.

# The National Vintage Report is based on a survey of winemakers conducted in May-June each year. In 2020, responses were received from over 500 businesses, including all wineries known to crush over 10,000 tonnes, and in total are estimated to account for 90.5 per cent of all Australian wine grapes crushed in 2020.

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