The Australian wine grape crush has dropped by just 1% and is estimated to be 1.73 million tonnes (Mt), according to the National Vintage Report 2019 released by Wine Australia.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark described the announcement as welcome news for the wine sector.

Clark said: “This is a good-sized crop that will ensure Australia can continue to supply its export and domestic markets comfortably.

“It further reinforces Australian winegrowers’ ability to deliver consistent winegrape harvests and mitigate the effects of difficult weather conditions such as those widely reported during the 2019 season.”

The new report was based on a survey of winemakers conducted between May and June this year and received responses from more than 570 businesses, estimated to account for 88% of all winegrapes crushed this year.

The new report contradicts figures mentioned in 2018 vintage, which stated that the harvest would be down by 10% to 20%.

Clark explained that although many regions did suffer significant losses, the lower yields were balanced by higher grape prices with the average value of wine grapes reaching A$664 ($466) per tonne, up by more than A$50 ($50) per tonne (9%) on the 2018 average value of A$611 ($429) per tonne.

This year’s figure is reported to be the highest since 2008, and also the fifth consecutive vintage where the average purchase price for winegrapes has increased.

The total farmgate value of Australian winegrapes is estimated to be A$1.17bn ($822m) this year, which is an increase of 6% despite the reduction in tonnage.

Clark further added: “Growth in export value underpins the continuing success of the Australian wine sector, with exports accounting for 63% of wine production.

“It is pleasing to see the value growth in Australian wine in export markets translating to increased premiums paid for Australian winegrapes.”