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New zealand wine industry announces 2009 vintage results

The 2009 New Zealand grape harvest reached 285,000 tonnes, keeping it to last year’s levels, New Zealand Winegrowers announced today.

The vintage is marginally above pre-harvest expectation for a crop of 275,000 tonnes, but is in-line with Winegrowers’ view that the harvest would not be bigger than 2008. Producing area in 2009 is estimated to have been 31,000 ha, up 2,000 ha on 2008.

New Zealand Winegrowers’ CEO, Philip Gregan, said the industry had worked hard in the past year to keep volumes at last year’s levels to maintain quality.

He also said the elements had been kind in 2009, which would contribute to a quality vintage.

“We enjoyed a very good growing season this year. Some early humidity and weather pressure in February was replaced by a superb March and April. This meant our growers and wineries were able to pick the grapes at optimal ripeness.”

“The record 2008 vintage has driven export growth of 28% for the year to date meaning that we will achieve $1 billion of wine exports in 2009, a year earlier than forecast. Despite the strong growth in exports, there has been downward pressure on prices in the short-term given the global recession and market conditions. The prospect of some outstanding wines from the 2009 vintage will help underpin our price premium,” added Gregan.

Marlborough’s vintage was slightly less (-1%) than 2008, with an increase in Sauvignon Blanc more than off-set by lower production of other varieties, notably Pinot Noir.

Nationally the Sauvignon Blanc crop was 5% larger than 2008, driven by a 10% increase in plantings. The crop would have been even larger but for an unprecedented cooperation between wineries and grape growers who reduced yields in the interests of quality and to avoid another unexpectedly large vintage as happened in 2008.

In Hawke’s Bay production was up 20%, marking a return to ‘normal’ levels after vintage 2008 was affected by frost and poor fruit set. Hawke’s Bay styles including chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah all increased.

The crop in Central Otago was down 35% from the bumper 2008 vintage. The reduction appears to be more related to crop management than any particular weather events. The markedly smaller Pinot Noir crops in Central Otago and Marlborough led to a 16% reduction in Pinot Noir production on 2008.

Record crops were recorded in Nelson (+11%) and Wairarapa (+8%), whilst Gisborne reduced by 3%.



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