The 2011 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with more grapes being picked in response to rising sales of New Zealand wine.
“New Zealand wine sales have been very strong in the past year (equivalent to 310,000 tonnes of grapes) and a larger harvest was needed in 2011 to rebuild inventory and to support current and future sales. With lower stocks in winery cellars, this has prompted a grape intake this year of 328,000 tonnes of grapes, slightly up on our pre-harvest expectation of around 310,000 tonnes” said Philip Gregan New Zealand Winegrowers’ Chief Executive Officer.
The 2011 vintage featured markedly different experiences for the North and South Islands. “The vintage growth was driven by larger harvests in most South Island regions, including Marlborough, Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago. This growth was fuelled by generally very good weather which produced larger crops of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The expectations for the Sauvignon Blanc vintage are very positive given the ideal weather that prevailed during autumn.’
“By comparison the vintage was smaller in most North Island regions, including Gisborne and Hawkes Bay, as production of leading varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah fell compared to 2010. Nevertheless we expect some excellent wines to be produced, albeit in slightly smaller volumes than last year.”
“With the vintage now over, we believe the wineries and growers can look to the year ahead with cautious optimism. The vintage should support sales growth of up to 7% for June year end 2012, which will be another step forward in the recovery of the sector”.