Wineries boast bumper crops

Last updated 05:00 16/06/2014

GOOD SEASON: Waipara’s harvest crop, at 10,127 tonnes, was up 32 per cent from last year.

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Waipara Valley's 2014 grape harvest has increased significantly this year, putting the region in good stead to meet consumer demand for New Zealand wine.

According to the latest Vintage Survey of New Zealand wineries, Waipara's harvest crop weighed in at 10,127 tonnes, up 32 per cent from last year and higher than the national average of a 29 per cent increase. It is the first time the region has exceeded 10,000 tonnes of grapes harvested.

Nationally, winegrowers have harvested 445,000 tonnes of grapes this season according the survey.

Award-winning Pegasus Bay winemaker Matt Donaldson said the rain during the picking season had meant this year was an "intense harvest", but the "crops have been bigger than usual".

"We started picking the pinot noir before the rain set in," he said. "We worked some long hours to get all the grapes before they went rotten."

The grape harvest has also been a success for Marlborough wineries, despite prolonged rain in late April.

Chief winemaker for Foley Family Wines in Marlborough, Stu Marfell, said his team did "an amazing job" completing the harvest before the adverse weather hit.

"The winemaking team is looking forward to making more world-class wines this year," he said.

For the first time Nelson and Central Otago also each exceeded 10,000 tonnes.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Phillip Gregan said this year had been "a good growing season" across the country and people would be pleased with the quality and flavours produced.

"Waipara [is] producing some outstanding wines," he said.

New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries and wine exports are currently valued at $1.32 billion a year.

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- The Press

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