12 Jun 2013

Drought spells good drop for wine lovers

3:34 pm on 12 June 2013

The wine industry says this year's just-completed grape harvest is likely to be one of the best vintages ever - thanks to the summer drought.

Some 345,000 tonnes of grapes was harvested throughout New Zealand, almost 30% more than last year.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan says winemakers have told him the 2013 vintage will be one to look out for.

He says the drought, while bad for pastoral farmers, provided consistently warm dry weather which are ideal conditions for grape-growing.

New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries with a total estimated annual value of $1.2 billion.

Mr Gregan says there has already been a record number of early shipments in May this year.