Southcorp has posted a 23% rise in its 2004 vintage intake. The winemaker saw this year's vintage hit 277, 749 tonnes, with red grape varieties accounting for 165,473 tonnes (up 25% on 2003) and white grape varieties turning in 112,276 tonnes (up 20%).

The proportion of fruit sourced from the company's own vineyards rose by 60% year-on-year to 64,338 tonnes.

Speaking to Ralph Wragg Australian Business News, Southcorp's managing director and chief executive John Ballard said: "We have depleted most of our bulk-wine inventory over the past 12 months and needed a significantly larger harvest from 2004 to meet demand in the year ahead.

"Through a combination of good management of our own vineyards, close working relationships with our growers, and a measure of good fortune, the viticultural team has delivered a good-quality harvest with total tonnages closely aligned to the company's forecast volume requirements," he added.