The Australian wine harvest fell by 10% in 2003 to 1.36m metric tons, the Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) has reported, the first decline since 1997.

The Federation said that the fall in production was due to drought conditions across most wine regions and cool weather during initial bud formation.

Red grape production fell by 5% to 802,000 tons, while white grape production was 16% down at 558,000 tons.

"With only limited plantings of white grapes in recent years, the seasonal conditions were always going to impact most heavily on whites," said WFA policy director, Stephen Strachan.