Australia's 2001 vintage yielded a record 1,301,000 tonnes of grapes, according to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. The figure, a rise of 14% on 2000, was the result of better weather - despite a very hot start to the harvest - and extensive new plantings.

There was has been a surge of new vineyard development in all major wine regions to take advantage of a continuing export boom and high grape prices, as much as $A5000 - approx £1600 - for top quality shiraz. The trend towards table red wines continues.

The AWBC said the 2001 vintage split 55% for red grapes, 45% white compared with last year's equal quantities of each. This was partly the result of weather conditions favouring red varieties but also reflected domestic and overseas demand.