Man crushing pinot noir grapes into wine glass

Highlights from the 2018 National Vintage Report

Recently the 2018 National Vintage Report was released. The report is Wine Australia’s annual report about the wine sector and is based on data collected from Australia’s wine growing regions.

Volume and prices are above the long-term average

The report looks at the total volume of grapes that have been recorded as picked and crushed (referred to as the “crush”) by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources along with their value.

In 2018 the volume of the total crush decreased by 10% to 1.79 million tonnes, although it’s now closely aligned to the long-term average of 1.76 million tonnes. This reflects the fact 2017 was an abnormally large crop and it’s now closer to normal.

The volume of red varieties crushed decreased by 15% while white varieties decreased by just 4%. Red varieties now account for 52% of the total crush with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot accounting for the vast majority, although Pinot Noir was the only red variety to increase its volume crushed. In white varieties, the amount of Chardonnay crushed increased by 9% and reflects 47% of the total amount of white varieties crushed. The second highest white variety to be crushed was Sauvignon Blanc which declined in volume by 16%.

The total value of the crush declined by just 3% to $1.11 billion reflecting an increase in the average purchase price of 8% to $609 per tonne. The average purchase price is the highest it’s been since 2008 and exceeds the average price across the past 10 years by almost 20%. This increase has been driven largely by red varieties for which the average price per tonne increased by 11% to $768.

Wine regions remain concentrated

White Grapes in the Winemaking Process

The majority of Australian wine came from large wineries, with just 25 companies crushing over 10,000 tonnes each in 2018. While 138 companies collectively crushed less than 1% of the total volume. The largest wine producing regions are Murray Darling – Swan Hill, Riverina in NSW and Riverland in South Australia.

The biggest declines in crush came from cooler climes that were down 20%, while warmer regions like Riverina and Murray Darling – Swan Hill decreased by 4%. Warmer regions account for 72% of the total crush. While starting from a significantly smaller base some regions experienced significant growth including the Yarra Valley (23% increase), Pemberton (92% increase), Fleurieu (11% increase and Mount Gambier (47% increase). With South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria (with Swan Hill and part of the Murray Darling) dominating the crush.

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