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New Zealand 2007 Harvest
The New Zealand 2007 grape harvest of 205,000 tonnes is set to produce superb wines but many wineries will be frustrated by shortages, despite a lift in production from 2006.
New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan said the 2007 grape harvest was in line with pre-harvest expectations for a crop of between 190,000 and 210,000 tonnes and has produced a high quality vintage.
"The good news for consumers and the industry is that the vintage benefited from an excellent late summer and autumn, and seems set to produce some superb wines. This combined with continuing strong demand for our premium wine is good news," Mr Gregan said.
"Consumers should be pleased with the vintage when they try the new years wines. Reports from growers and wineries are universally enthusiastic about the harvest quality" said Gregan.
The vintage is a new harvest high for the industry, up 11 per cent on the previous mark of 185,000 tonnes set in 2006, according to results from the New Zealand Winegrowers 2007 Vintage Survey. The growth is a result of the continuing increase in producing vineyard area, as national yields were similar to last year.
Despite the increased production, it would seem that many winemakers and their customers will be frustrated by shortages as up to two-thirds of wineries harvested a smaller crop than in 2006.
"With wine exports for the 10 months to the end of April up 31 per cent over last year we had been hoping for an even larger vintage. Compared with those numbers, a crop just 11 per cent up on last year is inevitably going to mean continuing supply constraints for many wineries, and frustrations for customers," said Gregan.
Marlborough led the New Zealand vintage in 2007 with a crop of 121,000 tonnes, over half (60 per cent) of the vintage, but up only 7 per cent on 2006, despite a significantly larger producing area. Gisborne and Hawkes Bay dominated production increases this year with their vintages lifting 44 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. Together these three major regions made up 93 per cent of the vintage.
Production in other regions totalled just 14,000 tonnes, down 23 per cent on last year. These areas appear to have been more affected by cool December weather which in turn affected vine flowering. This impact was lesser in some districts, notably, Nelson, Auckland and Northland.
Regional production changes compared with 2006 vintages were (tonnes):
 This is the number from the Vintage Survey – it has been grossed up to 205,000 tonnes to account for non-respondents.
In line with the overall trends grape varieties predominant in northern regions tended to experience increased production this year, while varieties focused in southern areas generally declined.
Chardonnay, New Zealands second most planted grape variety, experienced the largest production lift up 44 per cent on the previous harvest. This increase reflected a return to normal cropping levels (particularly in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay) which had below average crops of this variety in 2006.
New Zealands predominant export varieties did not experience the same production rise. The Sauvignon Blanc crop was up just 6 per cent to 102,000 tonnes, meaning there will be on-going supply constraints with this variety given exports are up 36 per cent for the 10 months to the end of April.
For Pinot Noir, New Zealands second export variety, production fell despite an increased producing area. Production was 20,700 tonnes, down 6 per cent on last year.
The other major varietal change was an increase of 65 per cent to over 6,000 tonnes in the Pinot Gris crop. Pinot Gris is currently a popular variety internationally. This increase will enable New Zealand producers to service growing demand for the style.
Compared with the 2006 vintage, changes in production for major varietals were (tonnes):
This information has been sourced from a voluntary survey covering 66 per cent of wineries but an estimated 98.9 per cent of the total vintage. The Survey does not include all harvested grapes from the 2007 vintage. Data from the Survey has been extrapolated to produce the vintage estimate of 205,000 tonnes.
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