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2nd Largest Grape Harvest Expected

25 February 2005

2nd Largest Grape Harvest Expected

The 2005 New Zealand grape harvest has commenced amid expectations fr
om growers and wineries for a quality vintage that will be the 2nd largest ever for the industry.

Commenting on the vintage outlook Philip Gregan, Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Winegrowers said, “The vintage has commenced in Gisborne and will conclude in southern regions in a little over three months. At this stage the grapes look in very good condition and the prospects for a quality harvest are positive following warm, dry weather in January and February.”

Vintage 2005 will be harvested from a record producing grape area of 20,500 hectares, up 2,200 hectares or 12% on 2004.

Despite the increased producing area, Mr Gregan said the industry was not now expecting a larger harvest than 2004. “While there are more vineyards producing this year, the potential crop size has been influenced by cool December weather, particularly in central and southern regions. This will not lower the quality of the vintage, but it has reduced fruit set and yields in some varieties. On this basis we anticipate a vintage of between 140,000 and 160,000 tonnes of grapes, down from 167,000 tonnes in 2004. This would, however, still make it the industry’s 2nd largest vintage ever,” said Mr Gregan.

Mr Gregan stressed that there was still a long way to go before growers and wineries could celebrate the success of the vintage. “The recent weather makes the outlook for the vintage very positive, but further warm, dry weather is needed in the coming weeks to allow the grapes to ripen to full maturity. Only after the final grapes harvested will the celebrations start” concluded Mr Gregan.

ENDS


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