The Hardy Wine Company, the Australian division of Constellation Brands, has reported a 24% reduction in its grape crush for 2007 as drought and frost slashed Australia's winegrape harvest.

Hardys crushed a total of 255,600 tonnes of wine grapes for the 2007 vintage, down from 336,000 tonnes in 2006 but still equivalent to 19% of the entire 2007 Australian harvest, estimated by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation to be 1.34m tonnes.

Hardys group chief winemaker Peter Dawson described the vintage today (27 April) as "extraordinary".

"Cool regions were hit hardest by the extreme seasonal conditions,'' he said. "Drought and frost resulted in some dismal yields, with the average in these regions being 45% lower than normal."