Winemakers in New Zealand are hailing the 2013 vintage as 'one of the best in history', with a record harvest 28% bigger than last year’s crop.
New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan described the summer as ‘outstanding’ with ‘near-perfect conditions for growing grapes’.
‘The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit-driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape-growing regions – 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.’
Nearly 350,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2013, a record volume up 5% on 2011 and 28% bigger than last year’s small crop, which left New Zealand short of wine to feed its expansion plans.
Key region Marlborough and key grape variety Sauvignon Blanc both had good years, with volumes up 33% and 26% respectively, while the Pinot Noir crop was 36% bigger than in 2012.
‘The small 2012 grape crop left the industry unable to meet continuing strong consumer demand in established and new markets,’ said Gregan.
‘Winemakers will welcome the more normal 2013 harvest as the better balanced supply will facilitate renewed export growth in the year ahead.’
Premium winery Villa Maria described the quality of Marlborough fruit as ‘exceptional’ with Chardonnay an early highlight, but reserved its highest praise for Hawke’s Bay.
Claiming that the area’s 2013 harvest was ‘remarkable’ and would ‘go down in history’, the company said: ‘We have never seen everything look so pristine and the flavours were amazing.’
Flavours were so pure and clean that variations between soil types and individual clones were apparent, with Merlot described as ‘a real stand-out’.
Written by Richard Woodard