New Zealand wine vintage

19 June, 2009

New Zealand Wine Growers report similar size vintage to last year and exports are up 28%

The New Zealand 2009 vintage has come in at 285,000 tonnes – about the same as last year despite a 10% increase in planting area.

The average yield for 2009 is at 9.2 tonnes per hectare, down from 9.8 tonnes per hectare in 2008, and comparable to yield for vintage 2004.

New Zealand Wine Growers reports a 28% increase in exports which means the New Zealand wine industry has achieved NZ$1 billion of wine exports in 2009, a year ahead of forecast.

David Cox, the recently appointed director- Europe for the generic body (NZWG) representing growers and producers said, “The 2009 vintage represents a good result for the industry.  The growing conditions were excellent this year and we were able to pick the grapes at optimal ripeness.  This combined with the increase in co-operation between growers and producers working hard to keep volumes at last years levels, means we are on course for a vintage of exceptional quality.”

The harvest in the key Marlborough region was down 1% due to lower Pinot Noir volume and close management of Sauvignon Blanc to avoid volume pressure while Hawke’s Bay, predominately a red wine region best know for Bordeaux varieties, was was up 20% - back up to ‘normal’ levels after low 2008 vintage.

Although overall production was unchanged from last year, the majority of wineries either held grape intake at last year’s level or significantly reduced it, according to NZWG.. More than 61% of wineries had a vintage either of the same size or smaller than 2008, in direct comparison to last year when 80% of wineries increased production.

Regional differences in production were less marked this year than in previous years due to a generally good bud burst, flowering and growing conditions, reports NZWG. However production in Waipara was down 16% due to post-flowering hail and production in Marlborough was down by 1% as a result of crop management techniques. In Central Otago the crop was down 35% from the 2008 vintage more as a result of yield management than weather and Hawkes Bay enjoyed a return to form with a 20% production increase after the frosts of 2008.  Record crops were recorded in Nelson (+11%) and Wairarapa (+8%) while Gisborne levels were reduced by 3%.