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13/02/2009

Hawke’s Bay well set for 2009 vintage

An exceptional run of warm, dry weather stretching back to early spring and the dedication of the region’s winegrowers heralds a fantastic 2009 vintage for the Hawke’s Bay wine industry.

A recent snapshot survey conducted by HB Winegrowers Inc (HBWG) of growers from around the region reported good flowering and excellent fruitset. The consistent accumulation of heat is preparing growers for an excellent vintage for all varieties, as long as the current weather patterns hold.

Xan Harding of HBWG reported that growers are now busy fruit-thinning where appropriate to achieve quality targets and manage an otherwise larger crop than previous years. “Prices are looking stable for red grapes and down slightly for some white varieties. Supply and demand for Hawke’s Bay wine remains in balance due to our growing reputation as a producer of excellent wines across a wide range of varieties and styles,” said Xan.

Survey responses predict the 2009 vintage will produce excellent Hawke’s Bay’s Bordeaux and Syrah red wines. With these wines retailing at the ultra premium end of global markets there may be some relief from the downwards pressure on commercial wine prices in an uncertain market place. Vintage is expected to be slightly earlier than the previous year beginning in early March and ending for the region in mid to late April depending on the varieties grown. New varieties coming into production this year are more experimental European wines rather than ongoing increases in commercial varieties. Wineries and growers are aware of market difficulties due to an uncertain economic climate.

“Hawke’s Bay is well prepared to accentuate its strengths with a stable supply and demand situation to deliver to market one of Hawke’s Bay’s best vintages yet. The diversity of wine styles and ability to compete in the super premium segment of the market make the future of Hawke’s Bay wine exciting as well as challenging,” said Rod McDonald, chairman of HB Winegrowers Inc.

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