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Wine Industry Statistics - Viticulture

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Viticultural Information


Statistics information from The Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Directory
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Viticulture

Vineyard Area

In its latest vineyard survey (2011-12), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates that 148,509 ha are cultivated for winegrapes in Australia (see table). Of this amount 145,383 ha are now bearing fruit. The total area has declined every year since 2006-07 when the total area reached a record high of 173,776 ha. The vineyard area dropped by 8,125 ha since the last ABS survey in 2009-10.

South Australia with 71,310 ha under vine has the largest area of vineyards accounting for 48.0% of the national total vineyard area. New South Wales follows with 39,097 ha (26.3% of the total) then Victoria with 25,409 ha (17.1% of the total vineyard area). Red winegrapes are more widely planted in all States except New South Wales and Tasmania where white winegrapes form the majority (see table). The Big Rivers zone of New South Wales and Lower Murray of South Australia are two of the largest zones.

According to the ABS, white winegrapes comprise 57,171 ha (35.5%) of Australian vineyard varieties in 2012 (see table). This represented a slight reduction in percentage terms, from 41.8% in 2007-08. Chardonnay declined 10.0% in 2012 although it still remains the most widely planted white winegrape variety accounting for 44.6% of all white winegrapes by vineyard areas (bearing and non-bearing), and for 17.2% of the total plantings in Australia. Pinot Gris and Savagnin were the only premium varieties to show growth in vineyard area and increased by 6.6% and 17.9% respectively. Alternative whites such as Vermentino and Fiano are now making inroads but each still account for only about 0.20% of the total white winegrapes.

Red winegrape vineyard area dropped 3.8% to 91,338 ha in 2012. The percentage of red winegrapes in the national total was 61.5% in 2012. In 1997, red winegrapes comprised only 42.7% of the total. Shiraz declined by 4.0% but with 42,012 ha remains the most widely planted red variety comprising 46.0% of all vineyard area of red winegrapes and 28.3% of the national winegrape plantings. The area planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot also decreased.

New Plantings

New plantings of vines during 2012 declined by 33.1% with 940 ha of new vines planted which is significantly lower than 2005 when 6,093 ha were planted (see table). There were big drops in plantings in all States except Tasmania which showed a nominal gain but was still far off the number of hectares planted in 2005.

According to ABS data, 310 ha of white winegrapes were planted after the 2011 harvest, accounting for 32.9% of new plantings, compared with 631 ha for red varieties (67.1%) (see table).

Of white varieties, 40 ha of Sauvignon Blanc were planted which comprised 12.9% of all new white varieties planted and 4.3% of total plantings. However, the total of Sauvignon Blanc new plantings decreased from 2007 when 507 ha were planted. Only 17 ha of Chardonnay were planted, a significant difference to 2003 when 2,608 ha were planted.

Of 631 ha of red vines planted after the 2011 harvest, Cabernet Sauvignon led the way with 191 ha planted, comprising 30.3% of new red varieties and 20.3% of the total plantings. Shiraz plantings dropped by 46% with 144 ha planted in 2012 down considerably from 1995 when 5,534 ha were planted. The overall rate of planting of reds has decreased by 23.5%.

Grape Production

The ABS reported that total winegrape production in 2012 was 1.58 million tonnes, a 3.2% increase from the previous year. South Australia remained the largest producing State with 768,918 tonnes (see table). The overall increase was buoyed by good gains in South Australia and New South Wales, while the other States remained steady or saw losses.

White winegrape production (776,267 tonnes) was lower than red winegrape production (805,782 tonnes) according to the preliminary 2012 data. South Australia was the highest red winegrape producing state with 59% of the national red winegrape production. South Australia marginally surpassed New South Wales as the highest producer of white winegrapes with 38% of total white winegrape production.

Three varieties of grapes accounted for 60% of all winegrape production in 2012: Shiraz (362,217 tonnes), Chardonnay (384,283 tonnes) and Cabernet Sauvignon (207,558 tonnes).