Record vintage due for New Zealand winemakers
21 Feb 2008
New Zealand wineries are in for a bumper season, with this year’s grape harvest expected to produce record-volume crops.
The forecast for the 2008 vintage is between 225,000 and 245,000 tonnes, up from 205,000 tonnes last year.
Picking of the season’s first grapes began in Gisborne in early February and will continue until mid-May.
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive office Philip Gregan says, ''the grapes have benefited from the prolonged period of dry weather over the summer, and at this stage the prospects for a high quality vintage appear very good.''
An additional 2,000 hectares of wine producing land has been added since 2007, bringing the nationwide total to 27,000 hectares. The weather leading into the harvest has also helped the current vintage. Crops are returning to more normal yields after a cool flowering lowered 2007’s output.
New Zealand produces less than 0.5 per cent of global wine output and 1 per cent of world exports. Despite this, New Zealand is regarded as a world leader in sauvignon blanc and pinot noir wines. The number of New Zealand wine makers has doubled to more than 500 over the past decade, many of which are small boutique producers.
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