Over-supply is forcing some Australian grape growers to sell their Shiraz red grapes to hobby winemakers.

Although official forecasts have just been revised downward, the official projection for the 2004 national crop at 1.7m tonnes is still 22% above last year.

Prices vary, but Shiraz prices in the premium Barossa region have gone from a top A$2500 (US$1850) a tonne five years ago to as low as A$500 (US$370) this year.

Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation information and analysis manager Lawrie Stanford said the peak of plantings in 1998 was now providing an over-supply. For the next ten years growers will be using a produce markets initiative in the South Australian capital, Adelaide, to sell their surplus to home winemakers.