Australia’s 2020 Crush: Crop Down but Quality High

The Australian winegrape crush in 2020 was 1.52 million tonnes – the equivalent of over 1 billion litres of wine, according to the National Vintage Report 2020 released on July 7 by Wine Australia.

The 2020 crush was 12 per cent lower than the 2019 crush, and 13 per cent below the ten-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 wines – when the crush was 1.61 million tonnes, but the vineyard area then was about 4 per cent 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.’

Continuing strong demand for Australian wine is reflected in the 5 per cent increase in the average value of grapes, which has increased by a compound average of 5 per cent per year for the past 6 years.

The total value of the winegrape 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. However, the diversity of winegrowing regions and the ability of Australian grapegrowers to manage seasonal variations and weather events moderated the impact on the vintage.

The three large inland regions: Riverland (South Australia), Murray Darling–Swan Hill (Victoria/New South Wales) and Riverina (New South Wales), which make up around three-quarters of the crush, were less affected than other regions due primarily to the availability of supplementary water. Together these regions were down by 4 per cent compared with 2019, while the remaining regions were down collectively by 34 per cent, with a wide range of individual variation.

Mr 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.

Mr Clark said crop losses due to fire and/or smoke damage were reported in around one-quarter of Australia’s winegrowing regions; however, the overall reduction due to direct damage or smoke effects was estimated to be less than 40,000 tonnes, or 3 per cent of the total crush.

Red varieties fared slightly better than white varieties in 2020, being down by 11 per cent compared with 2019, while white varieties were down by 13 per cent. Australia’s largest variety, Shiraz, decreased by 10 per cent to 376,000 tonnes and increased its share of the total crush to 25 per cent. Other red varieties to do relatively well were Durif and Ruby Cabernet (up by 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively) while the biggest declines were for Pinot Noir (down 24 per cent) and Merlot (down 20 per cent).

The main contributor to the reduction in the white crush was Chardonnay, which was down 19 per cent to 285,000 tonnes, while Riesling had the biggest decrease in percentage terms, down 28 per cent to a 20-year low of just under 17,000 tonnes. Prosecco increased slightly, against the general trend, and moved up to ninth place in the top 10 white varieties.

‘The increase in average value for Shiraz is far outpacing that for Chardonnay, leading to strong demand signals favouring Shiraz’, he said. ‘This is reflected in our exports. The average value of bottled Shiraz exports was $9.21 per litre FOB in 2019 compared with $4.29 for Chardonnay.’

 

The survey

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 winegrapes crushed in 2020.

The full report can be downloaded from Wine Australia's website at: https://www.wineaustralia.com/market-insights/national-vintage-report

COVID-19 Response Update

Wines of WA will be keeping industry updated on all relevant aspects of the COVID-19 situation via a new web page on this site. As the situation progresses we will consolidate up-to-date information on support packages, export issues, travel restrictions and other topics.

Access to the page is available via the menu bar across the top of the site, or click here

Small Business unites with State Government to fight COVID-19 threat

A delegation of Western Australian industry associations has held an urgent but positive meeting with Small Business Minister Paul Papalia over the immediate future for a wide cross section of industries in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

Liquor Stores Association of WA CEO Peter Peck spearheaded the meeting alongside LSAWA Chairman Lou Spagnolo, Wines WA CEO Larry Jorgensen, Australian Hotels Association WA (AHAWA) Executive, Michael Andrew and Master Growers Association (MGA) State Director, Ross Anile.

The meeting revolved around the importance for small businesses to keep trading and be given surety to be able to supply, even in the event of a worst-case scenario amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

"The panic buying behaviour by customers in supermarkets across the country has been fuelled by alarmist messaging by some public commentators,” Mr Peck said.

“It’s just confusing people. The Chief Medical Officer is advising National Cabinet and that is the ultimate authority.”

Mr Anile from MGA echoed Mr Peck’s sentiments.

“I can assure everyone out there, there is enough supply of toilet paper to accommodate everyone”.

“The massive hoarding going on right now is un-Australian and predatory”.

“We need to stop and think of others. This isn’t the behaviour of what we pride ourselves on” Mr Anile added.

Delegates highlighted the value that small business such as independent liquor stores and supermarkets played in the state and national economies.

“At the end of the day the lights need to stay on and the tills need to keep ringing” Mr Peck said.

The meeting also focused on landlords to do the moral thing by their tenants.

“We need government to apply as much pressure as they can on landlords to do the right thing. Now is the time for everyone to come together" said LSAWA chairman Lou Spagnolo.

Minister Papalia acknowledged the sentiments outlined by industry and said the State Government would continue to provide strong State-level support for small business.

He reiterated the Premier had flagged the State Government was developing further initiatives for small and medium businesses to be implemented soon.

Mandatory Pregnancy Labelling to be Reviewed

Grape and wine businesses welcome review of pregnancy warning proposal

The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) has requested that there will be a further review to the proposed pregnancy warning label designed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

This is a result of a concerted effort by our industry, led by Australian Grape and Wine (AGW), and supported by Wines of WA and Regional Associations in WA. I also acknowledge the hundreds of WA wine producers who wrote letters to their local state and federal MPs outlining their opposition to the proposed design of the label.

AGW CEO Tony Battaglene noted, “ Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an issue that we take very seriously. We have publicly supported the adoption of a mandatory pregnancy warning label throughout this process, and have joined the Australian Government in investing in the DrinkWise FASD Awareness program to help drive greater awareness and understanding of FASD. However, the label designed by FSANZ was the worst possible outcome for wine businesses, and particularly those small family owned businesses that make up the majority of our sector”.

This now provides an opportunity for FSANZ to further review the design to ensure it provides an effective message to consumers while not imposing significant cost impacts on Australian wine producers, many of whom are small business with little scope to absorb such costs or pass them on to consumers.

This provides a good example of how industry representation and alignment on an issue supports producers to ensure regulation and legislation is developed with their concerns considered.

AG&W's full media release can be downloaded here.

Larry Jorgensen
Chief Executive Officer
Wines of WA

E – [email protected]
T - +61 448 884 161

Notice of AGM January 30, 2020

The 2019 Annual General Meeting of Wines of WA will be held at 4:00pm Thursday 30 January 2020 at Nikola Estate, 148 Dale Rd, Middle Swan WA

Please RSVP here by Monday 27th January 2020

A Notice of Meeting and Agenda and Meeting Package can be accessed here.

There are three Producer Board Positions open for nomination by producers within each of the production range categories as noted below:

0 - 150 tonnes – see Nomination Package here

151 – 1000 tonnes – see Nomination Package here

Above 1000 tonnes – see Nomination Package here

In each year, Wines of WA acknowledges contribution to industry by presentation of a Life Membership award. The nominee for this award is selected by the Wines of WA Board to be presented at the AGM as a resolution to be voted on by attending members.

A Life Membership Award nomination form is included with the Notice of Meeting and Agenda.

Also included in the Meeting Package are proxy voting forms for each item of business requiring a Resolution.

If you have queries related to the above, please contact Larry Jorgensen on the details below.

E – [email protected]

T - +61 448 884 161

Oakover Acquires Houghton Winery and Assets

Third generation Swan Valley locals, the Yukich family, have completed the acquisition of Houghton Winery and associated assets from Accolade Wines.

The Houghtons property will be re-named Nikola Estate, after patriarch Nikola Yukich who planted vines in the Valley over 90 years ago.

Director Graeme Yukich says, "We are very proud to be able to bring this iconic vineyard and heritage site back into WA ownership."

Dr Tony Robinson has been appointed COO of the merged site and will be focussing on premium wine production, events and and a desire to grow tourism and visitation to the Swan Valley.

Dorham Mann awarded Lifetime Membership to WoWA

Legendary Swan Valley winemaker Dorham Mann has been awarded Life Membership of Wines of Western Australia.

The award was presented to Dorham by Food and Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan at an industry event at Parliament House on Tuesday.

In presenting the award, Minister MacTiernan acknowledged the role that Dorham has played in the establishment and development of the modern wine industry in WA over a career spanning nearly 60 years.

Dorham was one of the original cohort of Roseworthy trained winemakers in WA, and in 1961 he was appointed temporary Agricultural Adviser stationed at the Swan Research Station to gain experience in viticulture and the management of the Station and its staff.

Always a visionary for the industry, Dorham noted in his dissertation for BSc (Agric) a quote from LW Marrison: “If Australia should ever break into the fine-wine market, it will be with Western Australian wines”. With this aspiration in mind, Dorham worked with other like-minded individuals to realise the dream.

Entries Open for Geographe and WA Alternative Varieties Wine Show

September 18 - 20, 2019

The judging team for this year’s Geographe Wine Show has now been finalised and the region is thrilled to welcome back Julian Langworthy as chief judge.

Julian is James Halliday's Wine Maker of the Year 2019, a Jimmy Watson Award winner, Ray Jordan's 2017 Winemaker of the Year and a Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year nominee, and is regarded as one of the most talented winemakers in Australia.

His impressive career has included vintages in France and Canada, as well as senior winemaking roles in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Coonawarra. Says Julian “I am super excited to be returning to Bunbury and the Geographe Wine Show as the chair of judges. I had an excellent and eye opening experience last year as to how great the wines produced in the Geographe region can be.”

Completing the Senior Judging team will be two South Australians, Paul Hotker and Pablo Theodoro. Paul is Senior Winemaker at Bleasdale Vineyards in Langhorne Creek SA, 2018 Halliday Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year and a finalist in the Gourmet Traveller WMOTY, and Pablo is one of the team behind some of South Australia’s favourite bars and retailers, Mothervine, Bridge Hotel & Cellars and Hills & Back Wines.

Entries to this year’s show are now open with classes for Geographe Wines and WA Alternative Varieties. There is also a new trophy for ‘Best Rose’, which is fitting as Julian Langworthy is considered by some to be the ‘King of Rose’.

The Wine Show Dinner tickers are also on sale and both entries and tickets can be purchased online www.geographewine.com.au

All enquiries to Jo O’Dea: [email protected]

0417097538

Get in touch

For general enquiries, please contact [email protected]

For further tourism information, please contact the following regional wine associations: