As well as a grape glut ,Australia faces a company glut as well, according to research in the recently-released 20th annual Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Directory.

Although the country's 1400 small- to medium-sized wine companies make up only 6% of branded wine sales, their numbers are increasing at a rapid rate, with a new wine producer launching every 73 hours.

The editor of the Wine Industry Directory Micheal Major warned that while there had been much talk of an oversupply of grapes "an alarming problem could also be an oversupply of small businesses who are trying to compete in an industry that is becoming more dominated by the huge global wine companies."

Even taking into account closures and mergers there were a staggering 147 new wine producers in 2001, an increase of 11%. There were 1318 producers in 2000.

In the past 10 years, the wine industry has seen an average net gain of about 76 wine producers per year.

Most of the growth has been at the low production end, with around 87% of these new producers crushing less than 500 tonnes.

The state of Victoria, apparently saw the largest number of winemakers, 416, with 47 new. South Australia now has 353 wine producers, with 45 new ones listed. New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory have 331 wine producers, 38 of which are new. Western Australia holds 220 producers; 12 new. Tasmania, 70 wine producers; one new. Queensland, 74 wine producers; four new. And finally Northern Territory has one solitary wine producer.