By Ian Neubauer

Smarter water management and the genetic strengthening of Australian wine grapes to withstand drought has accounted for a 19 per cent increase in production from this year’s wine grape harvest, an economic research agency has said.

“Forecast production in 2007-08 is higher than early-season estimates because of greater than expected resilience of vines suffering from drought stress, and water purchasing by growers in drought-affected irrigation areas,” said Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) executive director, Phillip Glyde.

Total Australian wine grape production is now forecast to reach 1.67 million tonnes in 2007-08, according to a new ABARE report, Australian Wine Grape Production Projections to 2009-10, released yesterday.

The greatest increase in production in 2007-08 is expected to occur in the cool-climate grape growing regions. Production increases in warm climate areas are forecast to be minimal because of ongoing scarcity of water for irrigation.

In 2008-09, wine grape production is projected to increase to 1.78 million tones and reach 2.0 million tonnes in 2009-10, assuming a return to average seasonal conditions.

A record production figure of 1.9 million tones was achieved in 2004-5.

The Shout Team

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

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