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Tuesday 6 July 2021

Vintage performance. Australia wine industry celebrates

The Australian wine industry has rebounded from two successive small vintages to produce a record crop of 2.03 million tonnes in 2021. 

The season was characterised by near-perfect growing and ripening conditions across most states and regions, according to the National Vintage Report 2021 released today by Wine Australia.

Wine Australia General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Regulation, Rachel Triggs said 2021 was being described as a ‘unicorn’ vintage because of the rare combination of events leading to both exceptional quality and a good crop size.

“Good fruit set, plenty of water at the right time, lack of heatwaves, low disease pressure, and favorable harvest conditions have resulted in a high-yielding, high-quality vintage,” Triggs said.

The 2021 crush was 31% higher than the 2020 vintage and 19% above the 2019 vintage. 

The larger crush balanced out the two previous small vintages, with the average of the three being closely in line with the 10-year average of 1.74 million tonnes.

South Australia was the largest contributor of the states, with an estimated harvest of 1.06 million tonnes (52% of the national total), followed by New South Wales with 580,875 tonnes (29%) and Victoria with 334,834 tonnes (17%).

“This vintage provides an opportunity for depleted inventory levels to be restored, ensuring we have the supply we need to take up new export opportunities,” Triggs said.

Red grapes made up 57% of the crush comprising 1.16 million tonnes, an increase of 37% over the previous year. The white varieties comprised 864,946 tonnes, an increase of 25%. 

Shiraz was up by 41% per cent to a record 538,402 tonnes. This saw its share increase by one percentage point to 46% of all red varieties and 27% of the total crush.

The total value of the crush at the weighbridge increased by more than $400 million (36%) to $1.56 billion. 

Triggs said that concerns prior to vintage about the effect on grape prices of the tariffs imposed by the Chinese government on Australian wine, had not been realised in 2021. 

“That’s not to say that some producers aren’t doing it tough," she said. "Exposure to China is very variable from one producer to another depending on their ability to diversify, cash flow and the ability to physically hold stock and it will take some producers time to bounce back, which could also have flow-on effects for growers.” 

The National Vintage Report is based on a survey of winemakers conducted in May-June each year. 

In 2021, responses were received from a record 579 businesses, including all wineries known to crush over 10,000 tonnes, estimated to account for 89% of the Australian wine grape crush in 2021.

For more information, download the full report from 

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