Boom in top drops

THE value of Tasmanian wine grapes has reached a new record after what has been a successful vintage for most of the state’s vineyards.

The annual Tasmanian Vintage report shows the value of wine grapes is up by 4 per cent to $3146 a tonne. This compares to the national average of $701 tonne.

Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said there was a combination of factors.

“We’re very pleased to have seen the results from this year particularly after last year’s lower cropping vintage and obviously a bit of a tough one too,” she said.

“The value of our wine grapes has been steadily increasing on the back of quality, but it’s definitely that demand piece that is continuing to drive that value.”

The price of wine grapes in Tasmanian has steadily risen since 2016, when it was $2706 a tonne.

Ms Davies said with a number of grape plantings yet to reach commercial production, it was a good sign.

“Obviously we’re growing our vineyards but the demand for our wine grapes is also continuing to grow ahead of that,” she said.

“The focus is definitely on the value, not volume. Obviously, that’s only one piece of it and you’ve got the value of bottled wine, but it’s still important for us to capture.”

An increase in yields this year of 18 per cent compared to last season has also seen production return to more average levels.

Production was 14,478 tonnes or the equivalent of 1.05 million dozen bottles of wine. Statewide reports show consistent generous rain in winter and spring, cool temperatures and steady ripening, leading to expectations the wines will show intense yet elegant flavours and a vibrant structure.

Ms Davies said contrasting feedback was received from wine producers across the state, highlighting the diversity of the island’s microclimates.

The anticipated higher rainfall in a La Niña year ended up being lower than expected, with minimal impact on wine grapes, and an overall cooler-than-average season led to slower ripening and a pro-longed harvest.

“With variable seasonal conditions around the island yet again this year, wine producers dug deep to bring in some amazing fruit,” she said.

Across grape varieties, Ms Davies said Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for both sparkling and table wines were a standout, along with aromatic white wines such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Across the country, this year’s crop has been the largest ever with the crush estimated to be 2.03 million tonnes, 31 per cent above the 2020 vintage and 17 per cent above the 10-year average of 1.74 million tonnes. The national average value is up 1 per cent.

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