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31 March 2021
BY DYLAN DE JONG
A Grampians boutique winery is among many across Victoria experiencing a major turnaround in wine-grape production following favourable growing conditions in the 2020-21 season.
Grampians Estate business owners Tom and Sarah Guthrie expect to harvest about 45 tonnes of produce this year, more than four times last year’s quantity.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, ABARES, forecasts overall wine-grape production across the country to increase three percent this season on the back of improved seasonal conditions.
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Mr Guthrie said higher production in 2021 would replenish stock for the Great Western based winery.
“Nature has rebounded as it often does with fantastic yields,” he said.
“The fruit looks really good. With bigger crops comes a slower ripening period, which all adds to really good quality that we expect to complement the good yield.”
He said this year’s harvest would buck a three-year downward trend in production levels.
“We’ve had very mixed yields the past three years,” he said.
“Last year was our lowest crop for 20 years and that was a common theme among most winegrowers in south- eastern Australia. Nature gives you headaches along the way – like in 2018 when we had a huge frost – but that’s just agriculture.
“This is just a really good year – it’s so great to fill the tanks up again and hopefully the quality will match quantity.”
Mr Guthrie said his winery was busy harvesting its white grapes and would likely start on reds this week.
“Like most regional winemakers, we are well and truly at the height of harvest and yields are fantastic in line with the generally good season for crops, livestock and now grapes,” he said.
“Everything looks really promising – but it is not done until it is in the bottle.”
The agriculture department forecasts the average price of Australian wine grapes will fall more than $100 to $540 per tonne this year, with the major reason being the loss of China as a significant export market for Australian wines.
Mr Guthrie said a favourable harvest this season would be crucial for Australia’s wine industry to recover after it faced ‘significant challenges’ in 2020, including complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you look at the past 12 months, we had very poor yields and then bushfires happened, and many wineries had smoke taint. Then China came along, and you throw COVID-19 into the mix, it’s been extremely challenging,” he said
“Just speaking to the wineries that I know in the local region – a lot are running out of white wines because there wasn’t much made last year.
“It was such a low year last year, so this year will enable wineries to replenish their stocks, especially for small to medium wineries.”
The entire March 31, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire March 31, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!