Quality and quantity in record harvest

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:00 12/06/2014

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The latest figures released from New Zealand Winegrowers show Marlborough's total tonnage was 329,572 this year, compared to 251,680 last year - an increase of more than 77,000 tonnes.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan said the combination of great weather and the demand for more Marlborough wine led to a record harvest.

The demand was coming from growing markets in North America, as well as continued growth in the UK and Australia, Gregan said.

"So this [figure] is wineries responding to the demand."

While the bumper harvest had been predicted, it had been difficult to estimate just how big it would be, he said.

"This was one out of the box . . . [but] we knew it was going to be a lot.

"The general feeling in the industry is that the quality is going to be very good. There's a lot of excitment."

The 2014 figures were positive, and a good step towards New Zealand's wine industry becoming a $2 billion export industry by 2020, he said.

Marlborough was the largest producing region in the country, contributing 76.7 per cent of New Zealand's total volume of harvested grapes.

Hawke's Bay was the second largest region with 10.4 per cent of the country's total - they produced 44,502 tonnes.

Gisborne was third with 16,192 tonnes (3.8 per cent) and fourth was Central Otago with 10,540 tonnes (2.5 per cent).

Vineyards owned by wineries accounted for 45.2 per cent of Marlborough's harvest and those owned by growers produced 54.8 per cent.

Marlborough Winegrowers Board chairman Clive Jones said growers had a great season and there was a "small measure of surprise" when the figures were announced.

"You're never exactly sure what the final figures are going to be.

"Everyone went into this year's vintage with their eyes wide open. We are really happy with the quality and the quantity," Jones said.

"It's a big vintage and I think we've got quite a challenge over the next 12 months to sell that wine at a profit."

Some growers were hit hard by rain in mid-April, but an early ripening allowed most growers to harvest before the rain came.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said the extra 77,000 tonnes was a "big increase" but it had been expected.

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- The Marlborough Express

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