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Winegrowers upbeat about 2017 harvest

NZN 25/01/2017 Rebecca Howard

Winegrowers remain upbeat about this year's harvest despite adverse weather hitting much of the country.

In recent weeks parts of the country have been hit by heavier than usual rainfall, colder temperatures for January and high winds, accompanied by flash flooding, land slips and road closures.

But New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said in the major wine growing regions, the weather hasn't been too bad.

"At this stage, things are looking pretty good," he said.

The bulk of the country's wine is produced in Marlborough and Hawke's Bay.

Wine exports totalled $1.6 billion last year and 70 per cent of the industry is located in Marlborough.

Gregan said it was looking at an average harvest with Marlborough sheltered from the worst of the weather and Hawke's Bay enjoying warm, settled weather.

Xan Harding, vice chair of Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association said the growing season "has been as close to perfect as we could wish for".

He said they were on target for a high quality vintage with the potential to surpass even the stellar vintages of 2008, 2014 and 2015 but the difference between a good and great vintage will come down to the weather in March and April.

The Marlborough region was also hit by the November earthquake, which damaged about 20 per cent of wine storage tanks leading to a wine loss of some 2 per cent of the area's total annual production.

Gregan said, however, there would be little impact on this year's harvest as "the process of tank repair and/or replacement is progressing according to plan".

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