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NZ exports will be ‘muted’ as harvest volumes drop 9%

New Zealand’s 2017 grape harvest was “smaller than expected” having dropped by 9%, New Zealand Winegrowers has confirmed, with the organisation’s CEO expecting export growth to be “muted” in the coming year.

According to official figures released yesterday, this year’s vintage produced 396,000 tonnes, down 9% on 2016, which saw the country produce 436,000 tonnes of grapes.

This represented a 34% uplift on the 2015 vintage, which saw volumes drop to just 326,000 tonnes, sparking fears at the time of a Sauvignon Blanc shortage.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, attributed the smaller harvest of 2017 to wet weather over the summer season, admitting that reduced volumes will affect export growth.

“Given strong demand in overseas markets wineries had been looking forward to a larger harvest this year,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. “With the smaller vintage however, export volume growth is likely to be more muted in the year ahead.”

“Generally summer weather was very positive but there were some challenges as the season progressed.”

In terms of quality Gregan said wineries were “confident the vintage would deliver the fruit flavours that New Zealand wine is renowned for”.

“Reports from across the wine regions indicate that generally wineries are positive about the vintage quality. However, as always the ultimate test will be how the market reacts to the wines when they are released. At this stage we are confident the 2017 vintage wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines.”

New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.65 billion per year, with wine New Zealand’s 5th biggest export good.

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