The Australian wine group Evans & Tate believes the current vintage will do much to redress the oversupply in the Australian industry.

Its chairman and CEO Franklin Tate said: "Generally lower tonnages as a consequence of dry conditions around Australia will certainly impact market volumes and further redress the prevailing oversupply in certain categories."

However the group has said that its own 2003 vintage is a record, having harvested 40,838 tonnes at its four sites around Australia.

"The vintage has produced excellent quality grapes and the group's winemakers look forward to producing some great wines," the company said in a statement.

Tate said: "Across Australia we have experienced unseasonally hot and dry conditions. While this reduces the intake, particularly after the record 2002 vintage, quality is exceptional with little or no disease experienced.

"With operations now in four regions across Australia we are primed to take advantage of the best variety each region has to offer.

Tate said the company would be introducing a screw cap closure for its floral white varieties.

"Screw cap closures will become more commonplace in Australia as drinkers experience the benefits that this type of closure brings," he said.