Australia's 2001 harvest saw a record 1.46 million tonnes of grapes being crushed, a 25% increase on the 2000 harvest. Astonishingly the harvest would have been even bigger had there not been a heat wave throughout south-east Australia throughout January and February. Quantity was matched by quality and across the board the harvetsed fruit was of far superior in quality to that from the weather constrained 2000 harvest. This was largely due to the excellent weather conditions, absence of diseases and good vineyard management. Very hot, dry summer weather stretched across the major wine regions and the grapes ripened well, with rich colours and flavours. South Australia's top wine regions -- the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Coonawarra - experienced good fortune, particularly with Shiraz and Cabernet. ;The reds look terrific, with good concentration and a lovely, rich ripeness,; said Charlie Melton of Charles Melton winery in the Barossa Valley. Southcorp, owners of Penfolds and Wynns, reported a 30% increase in production from its own vineyards over last year's harvest and also indicate that quality is very high, particularly for its premium reds.
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