12 Mar 2013

Dought conditions 'perfect' for grape growers

11:23 am on 12 March 2013

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said conditions have been highly favourable.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic.

The director of Escarpment Vineyard in Martinborough, Larry McKenna, said he has waited for more than 30 years for weather this perfect.

He said too much rain can cause diseases or rush growers into picking below par fruit.

The grape harvest began in some regions in late February and will be completed in early May.

The wine industry is New Zealand's eighth most valuable export sector - with international sales reaching close to $1.2 billion last year.