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AUSTRALIA: Harvest hit by bad summer

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Reports suggest that the the coolest summer in South Australia for more than 100 years has significantly reduced grape yields in some premium quality wine areas. This puts in doubt whether new plantings will help produce another record vintage.

The statistics were released by the Weather Bureau in South Australia where more than half of the country's grapes are grown. Fewer hot summer days were said to have reduced grape yields in areas such as Adelaide Hills, Clare, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, by between 30% and 70%. "It's a really sad year. The best areas have been the hardest hit," said Brian Croser, of Petaluma Wines in the Adelaide Hills.

Opinion is divided on how much impact the weather will have had on total production but observers maintain that new vines coming into production this year should offset the lower yields in some areas. Some analysts believe that in spite of the bad summer the 2001/02 crop will still exceed the record 2000/01 production of 1.42 million tonnes of grapes.


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