Wine Australia’s Wine Production, Sales and Inventory Report 2021 shows a record vintage, lower sales volume and higher inventory levels when compared with 2019-20.

According to the report, both tonnage of grapes crushed and litres of wine produced were up by over 30 per cent, to 2.03m tonnes and 1.48bn litres respectively. Sales were down nine per cent in total value, to $5.89bn, and four per cent in volume, to 1.17bn litres.

Peter Bailey, Wine Australia’s Market Insights Manager said that this situation is not unexpected, given the reduction in exports to China, global shipping difficulties, and the size of the harvest.

Bailey said: “Australian wine exports in the year ended 30 June 2021 have been impacted by reduced wine availability for the past two years, as well as tariffs imposed on Australian wine to mainland China in November 2020.”

“Within our domestic market, we are seeing a gradual long-term decline in the volume of wine consumption that is in line with other mature markets globally, combined with short-term COVID-related disruptions and some competition from imported wine.”

Growing and ripening conditions described as ‘near-perfect’ in most regions have produced 2021’s record vintage, following the low vintages of 2019 and 2020. The three-year average is now just above the 10-year average of 1.74m tonnes, Bailey stated.

2021’s giant harvest helped Australia to become the fifth largest winemaking nation in the world, according to preliminary estimates from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

Red wine increased its share by one per cent, jumping to 854m litres, or 58 per cent of Australian production. White wine production reached 628m litres.

As a result of this increased production and shrinking in sales, the ‘national wine inventory’ sat at 2.1bn litres as of June 30 2021, an increase of 24 per cent. This means the stock-to-sales ratio has increased to 1.8 – which is 23 per cent above the 10-year average of 1.46.

Bailey believes the report points to future logistical issues for Australian wine: “The increased production combined with a reduction in sales is likely to put pressure on tank capacity for some wineries heading into the 2022 vintage.”

“There is no doubt that this is a particularly challenging time for the Australian wine sector. The report underlines the importance of market diversification as the key to long-term sustainability, while good communication between all players in the supply chain is critical to manage the short-term issues.”

The full report can be accessed at

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