13 Jun 2017

Grape expectations fall due to bad weather

11:46 am on 13 June 2017

The 2017 grape harvest is down 9 percent, due largely to wet weather over the summer season, a winegrowers organisation says.

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Photo: 123rf

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the 2017 Vintage Survey shows the harvest totalled just under 400,000 tonnes which is down 9 percent on last year.

New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries and exports are currently valued at $1.6bn per annum. Wine is New Zealand's fifth biggest export product.

Mr Gregan said given strong demand in overseas markets wineries had been looking forward to a larger harvest this year.

"Winemakers are happy with quality, but slightly disappointed with quantity."

The wet weather played a big role in the drop of volume, Mr Gregan said.

"The season was going well but there were some challenges with the weather later on in the season and that seems to have cut the crop back from what it was otherwise going to be."

However, the quality of the vintage was making up for the dip in production.

"We had a good early summer and that delivered good flavours into the grapes.

"I think overall they seem pleased with the wines. The final test is going to be in the tasting for consumers."

While exports were still expected to grow modestely, the value of those exports was still up in the air, Mr Gregan said.

"There's going to be some shortage of supply of New Zealand wine, quite how that's going to translate into export revenues is a little bit difficult to say at this time because exchange rates and other things will play into it."

But this would not necessarily bump the price up in New Zealand.

"That's a decision for individual wineries. In some cases they may decide to increase prices in other cases they may not, it depends on what the market is prepared to bear."

Mr Gregan said he expected modest export volume growth, but was unsure how this would translate into value growth.