Region 'Red Australia' - Year 2003
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Drought afflicted much of Australia throughout the winter of 2002 and the following spring, particularly in the east of the country. The extreme weather not only limited berry size but also restricted bunch development; hence the low yields that characterise the harvest.
The drought broke late February, with widespread rain just as the harvest began. Not all producers were unhappy with the rainfall. For the most part, the prevailing dry conditions kept vines remarkably free of disease while the rain simply lowered the yield as split fruit dried and shrivelled in the ensuring sunshine. Coastal regions like Yarra Valley and Geelong actually benefited from the general freshening-up effect.
The drought reduced yields overall with, total red wine grape production down 6-9% on last year. Grenache showed the biggest decline - 28% down on 2002. Shiraz dropped 2%, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot both fell by between 8% and 10%. Only Pinot Noir bucked the trend. Pinot Noir production was up 34% on the unusually low yields of 2002.
Hunter Valley, Rutherglen, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Margaret River and Coonawarra