Australian winemakers are exclaiming at what a difference a year makes as the sector rebounds from two small vintages to produce a record crop of 2.03 million tonnes in 2021.
These results come on the back of a season of near-perfect growing and ripening conditions across most regions of Australia, according to the National Vintage Report 2021 released 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," Ms Triggs said.
The 2021 crush was 31 per cent higher than the 2020 vintage and 19 per cent 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%).
"There is an opportunity for depleted inventory levels to be restored, ensuring we have the supply we need to take up new export opportunities," Ms 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%.
Overall, white variety's share of the crush reduced to 43%, the lowest since 2004.
The main contributor to the increase in red crush was Shiraz, up by 41% to a record 538,402 tonnes.
It increased its share by one percentage point to 46% of all red varieties and 27% of the total crush.
Total crush value at the weighbridge increased by more than $400 million (36%) to $1.56 billion, with the increased crop size amplified by a small increase in overall average value, up by one per cent to $701 per tonne.
The overall increase was made up of a four per cent decrease in the average value of reds to $833 per tonne, offset by an 11% increase in the average value of whites to $538 per tonne.
Ms 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.
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