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Oz prepares for poor 2008 harvest

Published:  23 July, 2008

With water allocations again reduced and the 2007 grape harvest down 20% on last year, Australia's winemakers are predicting a dire 2008 vintage.

A wine task force has met in Adelaide to discuss ways of improving production as well as water entitlements to growers.

Winemakers Federation of Australia CEO Stephen Strachan said substantial rain in autumn was essential to save this year's crop, but even then growers would still face a reduced water allocation compared with 2006. He added that the industry needed to encourage sales growth, not rely on the drought to clear stock. Despite lower prices for wines, there had been only marginal export growth and no boom on the domestic market.

It is estimated that there is an oversupply of 500 million litres of wine in storage across Australia. Market researchers do not expect the balance between supply and demand to be restored until 2009 or 2010.