By Andy Young
An excellent summer and the early autumn weather in grape growing regions has helped New Zealand winegrowers to report a strong 2016 grape harvest.
The weather enabled full ripening and flavour development, with the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) association reporting that the harvest has ended and “high quality fruit” has been picked across the country.
NZW’s CEO Philip Gregan said that the large and high quality harvest will support export growth for the country’s winemakers.
“Going into harvest, growers and wineries were looking for a larger vintage,” Gregan said. “In the past year we have seen continued strong demand in our key export markets, which exacerbated supply constraints following the small 2015 harvest. With good weather through the summer expectations for the vintage were high.
“This year’s vintage of 436,000 tonnes of grapes will be a welcome boost for markets, growers and wineries.”
Gregan added: “New Zealand wine exports are now valued at NZ$1.56 billion, up 13 per cent in the past year. The rebound in production from the 2016 vintage will be another boost to the export ambitions of our sector. The 2016 Vintage will definitely keep us on track to achieve our goal of $2 billion of wine exports by 2020.”
The 2016 harvest is up 34 per cent on the small 2015 crop, but is still below the record breaking 2014 vintage.