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VINTAGE 2004: Record Grape Crop Expected

For immediate release
23 February 2004

VINTAGE 2004: Record Grape Crop Expected

The 2004 New Zealand vintage has commenced amid expectations by growers and wineries for a record grape crop.

Commenting on the harvest prospects Philip Gregan, Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Winegrowers said, “Industry vintage expectations are very positive. Crops appear to be at normal levels in most areas, which is a welcome change after frosts reduced vineyard yields to very low levels last year. With the return to normal crops we are expecting a vintage of between 150,000 and 170,000 tonnes of grapes. This is about one-third larger than any previous vintage harvested by the industry.”

Vintage 2004 will be harvested from a producing grape area of 18,100 hectares, up 2,300 hectares on 2003, and over 4,000 hectares above the producing area in 2002. “The area of producing vines is now about 30% higher than in 2002, when the previous vintage record of 118,700 tonnes was achieved” said Mr Gregan. “With normal yields this year and the increased producing area clearly the scene is set for a record vintage for the industry.”

Mr Gregan stressed that the weather for the next three months will be critical in determining the success of the vintage. “So far the signs for the vintage are positive. Growers report that in general the grapes look in good condition, but further warm, dry weather is necessary over coming months for the grapes to ripen to full maturity.”

Mr Gregan said the vintage had already commenced in Gisborne, and will continue in southern areas through to the end of May. New Zealand Winegrowers will issue a Vintage Update in early April; final details of the vintage will be available in mid-June.

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