SA loses wine market share to eastern states

South Australia’s share of the national winegrape crush has shrunk over the past year, with the Riverland recording its lowest crush sine 2014.

Jul 10, 2024, updated Jul 10, 2024
Photo: Maja Petric/Unsplash.

Photo: Maja Petric/Unsplash.

South Australia still maintains the largest share of the national winegrape crush, with 49 per cent of the total 1.43 million tonnes of grapes crushed last financial year.

But its share of the national crush was down 4 per cent in the past 12 months according to Wine Australia’s latest National Vintage Report.

Eastern states picked up SA’s lost market share, with Queensland’s share rising by 45 per cent, New South Wales up by 18 per cent, Victoria by 43 per cent, and Tasmania by 42 per cent.

Western Australia’s share fell by 10 per cent, to make up just 3 per cent of the national crush.

The total winegrape crush was 9 per cent more – or 112,390 tonnes more – than the crush in 2023, driven entirely by white varieties.

Though stronger than last year’s 23-year-low result of 1.31 million tonnes – the lowest since 2000 – Wine Australia said the industry’s latest result was 18 per cent below the 10-year average, and the third vintage in the past five years that has been below the long-term average.

Speaking to InDaily, Wine Australia market insights manager Peter Bailey said the decline in South Australia came from the Riverland and the Barossa Valley.

“Those regions accounted for over 80 per cent of the drop in the tonnes crushed in South Australia,” Bailey said.

“The Riverland is the biggest producing region in South Australia with a 63 per cent share of the state’s crush, however the Riverland crush declined for the third successive vintage and fell by a further 5 per cent in 2024 which is the lowest crush in the Riverland since 2014 and 15 per cent below its 10-year average.”

Bailey said the sharp increase in market share on Australia’s east coast came off a low base.

“We did have a pretty low vintage in 2023 in New South Wales and Victoria,” he said.

“Particularly in Riverina in New South Wales and Murray Darling and Swan Hill in Victoria – they were coming off very low vintages so they’re rebounding back closer towards the average but were still below the average in historical terms overall.”

Via Wine Australia’s 2024 Vintage Report.

The value of the national vintage rose by 2 per cent to $1.01 billion, but the average purchase price for a tonne of winegrapes fell by 5 per cent to $613.

In SA, the total reported crush of winegrapes was 619,400 tonnes – a 6 per cent decline – and 19 per cent below the 10-year average. It was also the second-smallest reported crush from South Australia since 2003.

However, some regions performed better than others in SA, particularly those on the Limestone coast.

Coonawarra’s output was up 33 per cent, Wrattonbully was up by 15 per cent, and Padthaway was up by 6 per cent to now be the second-largest region outside of the Riverland by crush size.

Clare Valley decreased the most (down 28 per cent), followed by the Barossa Valley (down 24 per cent) and the Adelaide Hills (down 21 per cent).

Output at the Riverland continues to decrease from last year’s 10-year low, and was down a further 5 per cent to 391,248 tonnes in FY24.

Via Wine Australia.

Fewer reds are being produced in SA – down 11 per cent on last year and 25 per cent below the five-year average – as growers continue to grapple with an oversupply of the varietal.

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Shiraz accounted for 47 per cent of the reds, but production was down 19 per cent. Conversely, the pinot noir crush rose by 8 per cent, while grenache was up 14 per cent.

The white crush was “virtually identical” to the 2023 figure at 253,818 tonnes, and increased its share of the total South Australian crush from 38 per cent to in 2023 to 41 per cent in 2024.

“It’s really seeing the supply base adjust to where the demand is,” Bailey said.

“The overall drop in the red crush was pretty much in shiraz and in South Australia as well.

“More concerning is the average price paid for Riverland shiraz has also fallen for four consecutive years.”

The report follows the reopening of the Chinese export market for Australian wine producers, but Bailey said the industry should temper its expectations moving forward.

“The China market is a lot smaller than it was when we were last exporting to that market,” he said.

“I think we need to temper our expectations about where we will get to in terms of our exports over the next couple of years.”

Chardonnay takes the crown

The Wine Australia report found that chardonnay had the largest crush in FY24 of 332,643 tonnes, overtaking shiraz to take the title of top variety by crush size.

Chardonnay last held the title in 2013, with shiraz production falling by 14 per cent in FY24 – its smallest crush since 2007.

All other varietals in the top 10 increased except for semillon, which decreased by 10 per cent.

Via Wine Australia.

Bailey said the rise for chardonnay was impressive, though off a low base.

“It’s still relatively low in historical terms; the chardonnay crush is still one of the lowest in the last 20 years,” he said.

“It’s really just rebounding from a pretty low vintage.”

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