Wine sector rebounds with unicorn vintage in 2021

The Australian wine sector has rebounded from two successive small vintages to produce a record crop of 2.03 million tonnes in 2021, after a season 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,” 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 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Crush and yield from 2005 to 2021

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

“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,” Ms Triggs said.

Red grapes made up 57 per cent of the crush comprising 1.16 million tonnes, an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year. The white varieties comprised 864,946 tonnes, an increase of 25 per cent. Overall, white variety’s share of the crush reduced to 43 per cent, the lowest since 2004.

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