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Small New Zealand harvest welcomed

New Zealand wine producers are welcoming a smaller harvest than expected.

Wineries throughout New Zealand are reporting lower yields than originally forecast, leaving some predicting a shift in the industry from oversupply to shortfall.

In the country’s biggest region, Marlborough, Jackson Estate says Sauvignon Blanc is down 15-20% in volume.

Volume of its Pinot Noir has fallen 25% due to cold weather at flowering, and low bunch weights.

Similarly, Seresin Estate’s yields are down 10-15% but winemaker Clive Dougall told decanter.com: ‘That’s got to be a bloody good thing for the industry.’

While the vintage is reportedly promising in terms of quality, volumes have fallen significantly in other regions.

Craggy Range estimates yields are down 15% in Hawke’s Bay while Central Otago wineries Mount Edward and Mt Difficulty report a 25% reduction in volume compared to 2009.

This year’s cold spring will affect next year’s crop and a number of producers have suggested the 2011 harvest will also be small, potentially bringing the oversupply to an end.

The country’s excess production has led to widespread discounting, endangering its premium image.

Matt Dicey, winemaker at Mt Difficulty, added: ‘hopefully the discounting will dry up with a small vintage.’

New Zealand Winegrowers has confirmed the total harvest will be ‘at the lower end’ of its estimate of 265,000-285,000 tonnes.

Bordeaux 2009: All the coverage

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Written by Rebecca Gibb

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