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Wine News

NZ wine bounty grows by 39%

New Zealand’s grape harvest has come in 39% bigger than last year. Very favourable growing conditions in most regions over the summer months account for the increase, according to Warren Adamson, New Zealand Winegrowers’ UK & Europe Director. Another factor is that there was an extra 2,500 hectares of production area for the 2008 vintage.

285,000 tonnes of grapes were gathered from a total of 27,100 hectares. The increase is principally as a result of bumper amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, which accounts for 60% of the harvest. However, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris also increased significantly, while the Chardonnay crop was smaller than in 2007.

Marlborough brought in a bounty of 195,000 tonnes – up 61% from last year – representing nearly 70% of the harvest. However, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne were down 18% and 8% respectively due to frosts and cooler weather at flowering.

Other regions saw what appears to be massive increases – for example, Central Otago was up 177%, Wairarapa up 111% and Waipara and Canterbury both up 304% – but in most cases these figures reflect a return to target levels after unfavourable weather reduced crops in 2007.

Overall, the 2008 vintage brings an exciting opportunity for New Zealand, Warren told ThirtyFifty. ‘Quality is always our first priority. However, the bonus of having good volumes will allow us to maximise the coming 12 months. Over the past years, in all export markets, we have seen restrictions placed on wines heading into distribution due to the demand for New Zealand wines being much greater than the supply. The interesting development for us is that while the UK will remain New Zealand’s main export market for the coming 12 months, we have seen huge increases in sales within the USA, Australia, Canada, Asia and Europe.’

Currently, the UK takes just over 35% of kiwi exported wine.