Many New Zealand winemakers, excited at the prospect of an outstanding 2013 vintage and a chance to replenish stocks after the low grape haul in 2012, are playing down talk of a glut.
‘Stunning’ summer weather and a dry autumn may be causing drought issues in some sections of New Zealand agriculture, but it has led to ‘fantastic’ growing and ripening conditions for the country’s wine industry, generic body New Zealand Winegrowers said this week.
‘We are expecting a very high quality harvest in all our regions,’ NZ Winegrowers’ CEO, Philip Gregan, told Decanter.com.
‘Quality is looking outstanding, with extended long, warm ripening conditions and no disease pressure,’ added Yealands Estate owner Peter Yealands, based in Awatere Valley, Marlborough.
Most forecasts are for a bigger harvest than the record low in 2012, although there is not yet a more accurate prediction. Initial signs show a lot of variation between vineyards in expected grape hauls.
New Zealand remains sensitive to signs it could return to the dark days of a wine glut that threatened to cause financial havoc in some regions in recent years. Fresh concerns have been raised in national media in the past week.
‘There’s no chance of a glut,’ said Alastair Maling MW, of Villa Maria, which has vineyards across Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland. He said the best bet is for a moderate-sized harvest.
Gregan said that ‘increased volumes will allow re-build in inventory levels, which are desperately low following the small 2012 harvest and are needed to support packaged export sales which are now 6% above last year’.
Yealands largely agreed. ‘Given the rapid growth in sales across all markets, the low stock levels of 2012 wine available, and the promise of an outstanding quality vintage, we anticipate any upside in volume will be promptly sold,’ he told Decanter.com.