16 Jun 2009

Another bumper vintage for wine industry

3:44 pm on 16 June 2009

It has been another big growing year for the wine industry in New Zealand. The grape harvest for 2009 is 285,000 tonnes, on par with last year's record vintage.

Although the volume is the same as in 2008, the total area used by the wine industry for growing grapes rose by 2000 hectares to 31,000 hectares.

New Zealand Winegrowers says the industry has worked hard to keep volumes at last year's levels, to maintain quality. This was especially the case in Marlborough, where despite an increase in the production of sauvignon blanc, the overall harvest was down by 1%.

Marcus Pickens, of Wine Marlborough, says it is all about supply and demand - and growers do not want an oversupply of wine on the market.

In Central Otago, production was down by 35%.

Export milestone

The wine industry is welcoming projections that exports of its product will top $1 billion annually for the first time this year.

New Zealand Winegrowers says the record 2008 vintage should help exports pass the milestone this year, which is a year earlier than initially forecast. It says in the year to date alone, exports of wine are up by 28%.

Rod McDonald, of the Hawke's Bay Wine Growers Association, says this is great for the industry and growers are also excited about the overall quality of the 2009 vintage.