Jun 17

NZ: New Zealand grape harvest level with ’08

Tag: Länder,Oenologiesigi.hiss @ 09:28 editorial team – New Zealand Winegrowers hopes that a 2009 grape harvest level in size with the previous year will help it to maintain wine quality without problems of oversupply. The 2009 vintage was 285,000 tonnes, which is „marginally“ above pre-harvest expectations for a crop of 275,000 tonnes, but in-line with winegrowers‘ view that the harvest would not be bigger than 2008, said the industry body today (15 June).

New Zealand Winegrowers‘ CEO, Philip Gregan, said the industry had worked hard in the past year to keep volumes at last year’s levels to maintain quality.

He also said the weather had been „kind“, which would contribute to a quality vintage. „We enjoyed a very good growing season this year. Some early humidity and weather pressure in February was replaced by a superb March and April. This meant our growers and wineries were able to pick the grapes at optimal ripeness.“

Marlborough’s vintage was slightly less (-1%) than 2008, with an increase in Sauvignon Blanc more than offset by lower production of other varieties, notably Pinot Noir.

Smaller Pinot Noir crops in Central Otago and Marlborough also led to a 16% reduction in Pinot Noir production on 2008.

The Sauvignon Blanc crop was 5% larger than 2008, driven by a 10% increase in plantings. Hawke’s Bay production was up 20%, marking a return to „normal“ levels after vintage 2008 was affected by frost and poor fruit set.

„The record 2008 vintage has driven export growth of 28% for the year to date meaning that we will achieve NZ$1bn (US$633m) of wine exports in 2009, a year earlier than forecast,“ Gregan said.

„Despite the strong growth in exports, there has been downward pressure on prices in the short-term given the global recession and market conditions. The prospect of some outstanding wines from the 2009 vintage will help underpin our price premium.“

Speaking to just-drinks at a Summer New Release tasting of New Zealand wines in London last week, David Cox, the new Europe director for New Zealand Winegrowers, said New Zealand wineries must stick to their focus on value and not be tempted into the world of discounting to shift extra volumes.

Cox said that companies „have to be very careful“ to keep their wines out of lower price points and should be existing above GBP5.99 in the UK.

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