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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, March 16 2010. 11:12

Weather Rescues Australia Vintage 2010 but not Oversupply

Aussies may not be too happy about filling in the gap created by their strong New World adversary Chile which lost about 125 m liter of wine in the recent earthquake, but the calamity may not bring a sufficient business their way to erase the surplus even as the premium winemakers from different parts of the country are expecting an outstanding vintage this year.

Vinos de Chile has reportedly revealed that $US250 million worth of wine was destroyed in the earthquake, raising the prospect for Australian exports to grab the market share in markets like the fast growing China where Chile's wine is the top seller or Vietnam where they have done very well during the last couple of years.

The reason is that the spoilt wine amounts to just 12.5 per cent of last year's production of around 1 billion liters prompting the President of this industry association, Rene Merino to predict that the deliveries would return to normal soon. On the other hand The Winemakers Federation of Australia estimates that Australia has a surplus of about one billion litres of wine, and produces another 200-400 million litres a year that can't be sold.

However, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics expects this year's vintage to be down about 20 per cent from average levels to 1.6 million tonnes, helping to cut the surplus.

Great Vintage 2010

Meanwhile the recently formed First Families of Wine with a dozen premium family producers, claims that 2010 could be the best vintage in recent years.

In the Hunter Region there has been the benefit of an early harvest season avoiding the challenging weather of February, said Scott McWilliams of McWilliams. “Vintage 2010, with its dry start to the season and excellent growing conditions, is reminiscent of the 2003 and 2005 vintages in the Hunter Valley which produced some very exciting and notable wines,” McWilliams said.

In South Australia the Adelaide Hills experience “trying weather conditions” this vintage but the outlook is still positive. “This was one of the wettest seasons for many years, said Stephen Henschke from Henschke Wines.

Meanwhile in the Barossa and Eden Valley the vintage period has started off exceptionally well with high quality Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernets are expected. However, yields of Chardonnay and Grenache are down. “Unique to this season has been the evenness of ripening on premium reds which is typically indicative of a high quality year,” said Robert Hill Smith, from Yalumba.

In the Clare Valley a good winter, spring and early summer rainfall has resulted favourably for the region with great expectations for the 2010 vintage. Winemakers there say buyers should keep an eye out for some great whites. “A cool vintage is predicted so we are excited that quality should be in the good to great spectrum for the Clare Valley, “said Mitchell Taylor of Taylors.

In McLaren Vale some outstanding reds are expected. “While most crops have been looking good so far, unfortunately Grenache is looking well below average due to a heat wave during the flowering period, said Chester Osborn at d’Arenberg.

In Victoria’s King Valley, the Mediterranean varieties of Pinot Gris and Sangiovese are looking “outstanding” thanks to good rainfall in the spring followed warm weather. “2010 vintage in Victoria is promising Goldilocks crops—not too heavy so that the quality suffers and the tanks overflow, but not so light that they ripen too quickly and we run short,” said Ross Brown of Brown Brothers. “

At Nagambie Lakes fruit quality is looking great and harvest is on track to begin in early March. “After significant fruit losses in 2007 and 2009 we are looking forward to a trouble free 2010 vintage,” said Alister Purbrick of Tahbilk.

In the Yarra Valley 2010 is looking promising with a far better vintage expected than the horrendous heat and bushfires experienced in 2009. Some of the Yarra Valley’s best Chardonnay from 2010 is expected. “After two dry years at last we have had some decent spring rain followed by regular rainfall during the growing season,” said Leanne De Bortoli of De Bortoli.

Australia’s First Families of Wine are twelve of the most celebrated family names in Australian wine industry with more than 5,500 hectares of Australia’s finest vineyards and over 1,200 years of winemaking experience under their belts as a collective.

The inaugural members of the AFFW are Brown Brothers (Victoria), Campbells (Victoria), d’Arenberg (South Australia), De Bortoli (NSW), Henschke (South Australia), Howard Park (Western Australia), Jim Barry (South Australia), McWilliams (NSW), Tahbilk (Victoria) Taylors (South Australia) Tyrrell’s (NSW) and Yalumba (South Australia). A majority of these wines are being imported into India. FineWinesnMore is importing De Bortoli while d’Arenberg and McWilliams are with Brindco, Yalumba is with Sonarys ad Taylors is being distributed by Global Tax Free. Ace Beveragez imports Henschke in India while Sansula is the official importer for Maldives.

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