Australia crushed 47,000 tonnes (or approximately 45 million bottles) less chardonnay in 2014 than 2013. Early indications are that the 2015 crop could well be down again on 2014 vintage. A combination of many factors, including the weakening of the Australian dollar against the USD and other customer exchange rates, lower fuel (freight) costs and the recognised style and quality of Australian Chardonnay at all price points has some long term industry observers sensing a return to balance. “I’m not saying that I’m ready to go out planting again yet!” said Jack Papageorgiou of Renmark, a veteran of 40 vintages “There are some encouraging signs but certainly I will not be planting without a sound contract with a reputable winery”.
Riverland Wine has observed a sharp increase in interest in the Grapes for Sale listing and a moderate push up in price. Chris Byrne of Riverland Wine said “the spot purchase price for chardonnay has moved to $235 per tonne this week with strong interest from several larger wineries and large parcels of Shiraz and Cab Sauv have been snapped up”. He added, “It may be that buyers are anticipating lower yields across most regions but there do seem to be some green shoots emerging”.
It’s still early to be predicting yields with confidence but for those with grapes for sale the signs are encouraging.