9 Jun 2015

Golden summer makes for top wine vintage

7:40 am on 9 June 2015

The wine industry body says last summer's golden weather helped produce a high quality vintage - even though it was about a third smaller than last year.

326,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested this year, down 27 percent on the record vintage of 2014.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the size of this year's grape harvest had returned to a normal level.

"The smaller crop was due to cooler weather in the spring and flowering last year.

"There's no direct link between crop size and quality, but this year we had superb summer weather after a cool spring and that excellent summer weather that people throughout the country will remember has contributed to the very high quality of the grapes."

But despite the smaller grape harvest, Mr Gregan said New Zealand would continue to export the same volume of wine.

"Wineries will support the smaller vintage by drawing down on their pre-existing stocks of wine.

"Whether we see price increases that's up to individual wineries. Certainly with the smaller crop that's a prospect some wineries may well chase."

Mr Gregan said wine exports were valued at $1.39 billion a year making wine New Zealand's sixth largest export product.