By Annette Shailer

The 2009 Australian vintage is estimated to fall 11 per cent on last year’s harvest to 1.63 million tones, according to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC).

The AWBC harvest update comes almost half way into the harvest, with the more southern regions to be harvested in late April or early May.

Yields per hectare are expected to be lower than 2008 levels and well below the average due to a 13 per cent decline in national yield and 20 per cent below the long-run average.

The update states seasonal conditions are chiefly responsible for the lower yields, with cooler conditions in November and December hindering flowering, and extreme heat in January and February leading to sunburned and shrivelled grapes.

The white harvest is expected to be hit worse than reds due to the heat at the start of vintage. Whites are said to be down 12 per cent on last year, while the red harvest is down 10 per cent.

Warm inland districts should fare better than cooler-climate yields, which are expected to be down 14 per cent on last year and 11 per cent on the long-run average. 

It is estimated that bushfire-affected regions account for less than 5 per cent of the national harvest, with the full impact still unclear as fires continue to burn and the damage of the smoke taint currently unclear.

While a low season may see some shortening of the availability of certain varieties, the current high stock levels mean Australian wine supply is not threatened.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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