WELLINGTON, June 15 (Xinhua) -- This year's vintage of New Zealand wines is likely to be a smaller selection as the grape harvest is down by almost a fifth from last year, the wine makers association said Friday.
The harvest of 269,000 tonnes was 18 percent below the record 2011 harvest of 328,000 tonnes, New Zealand winegrowers announced.
"Following a cool spring and summer, the expectation amongst growers and wineries was that the 2012 grape harvest would be smaller than last year. This view was supported by anecdotal reports during the vintage and has now been confirmed by our 2012 Vintage Survey," said association chief executive officer Philip Gregan.
"The 2012 vintage is very similar in size to 2010, but given sales growth in the past two years, the reduced crop will introduce a new tension to the sectors' supply demand balance. As a result, a very clear focus in the next year will be on value rather than volume growth," Gregan said in a statement.
Gregan said that while the earlier spring and summer was cool, April was the critical turning point for the vintage.
"Going into harvest the concern amongst growers and wineries was whether autumn would deliver the weather the grapes needed to ripen fully," he said.
"Fortunately in most of our growing regions, April saw excellent vintage conditions with many warm dry days and cool nights. The result is that we expect there will be plenty of vintage highlights for consumers to savour and enjoy, albeit in smaller volume than 2011."
The news came a month after New Zealand winegrowers announced it was joining with the New Zealand government in a long-term strategy to market New Zealand wines in China over the next three to five years.
Last month, New Zealand winemakers took their biggest-ever road show to China, taking in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.