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Australian grape glut hits hopes of rebound for wine industry

The Australian wine industry has produced another bumper vintage, dashing hopes that poor ripening conditions over summer would reduce the oversupply that has dogged the industry for the past five years.

From the Australian:

THE Australian wine industry has produced another bumper vintage, dashing hopes that poor ripening conditions over summer would reduce the oversupply that has dogged the industry for the past five years.

Analysts say the ongoing surplus will slow the turnaround of Treasury Wine Estates, the former Foster's wine division which was spun off into a separate listed company last month.

The Winemakers' Federation of Australia has estimated the 2011 harvest at 1.62 million tonnes, a 1 per cent increase from last year and well ahead of market expectations, which had been as low as 1.1 million tonnes.

"The vintage is too big . . . a harvest of 1.6 million tonnes is out of step with the realities of sustainable production and the market opportunity for premium Australian wine," WFA chief executive Stephen Strachan said.

When crushed and made into wine, 1.6 million tonnes of grapes is equivalent to about 1.2 billion litres.

Adding this year's production to the 1.7 billion litres the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the industry already has in stock, winemakers now have more than twice as much wine as they need to supply annual demand, currently running at about 1.28 billion litres, including 755 million litres in export sales.

For more, see: Grape glut to hit hopes of rebound for wine industry

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