What to expect from New Zealand’s 2018 vintage

Yields were up 6% in the wine-growing regions of New Zealand’s 2018 harvest, with red varieties making a significant comeback after a challenging vintage last year.

New Zealand saw significantly higher yields of Pinot Noir and Merlot this year.

A warm summer benefited New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, with 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during this year’s vintage, according to a statement from New Zealand wine.

While the nation has seen growth, the rise in yield is still behind winegrowers’ initial predictions.

Red varieties such as Pinot Noir and Merlot were the standout successes this year, with yields up 20%, compared to a sharp decline in 2017.

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says many wineries had been hoping for an even larger vintage, given 2017’s small harvest.”However, we now expect export growth in the year ahead will be modest. It will be up to wineries to manage any product shortages from the vintage.”

“Production of both Pinot Noir and Merlot has lifted more than 20% on last year, which will be welcomed by both wineries and consumers.

“These varieties were down sharply in 2017 and it is very positive to see a return to more normal production levels this year,” Mr Gregan said.

“Every vintage is different and ultimately the final test is the quality delivered in the bottle to consumers. We are certain that consumers will enjoy the benefits of the warm summer when they get to taste the wines from Vintage 2018.”

New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.71 billion (£890 million), up 3% in the past year.

In the UK, New Zealand now holds the highest average bottle price, at £7.14, compared with the market average of £5.49, with this figure rising to £9.17 for New Zealand red wines, driven largely by Pinot Noir (Nielsen MAT 5.11.16).

In fact, New Zealand was the only country to see an increase in the volume of its wines sold in the UK’s on-trade, according to Accolade’s 2018 Wine Nation report, with a rise of 7%.

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