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Published:  23 July, 2008

The industry association New Zealand Winegrowers has warned that the size of the 2003 harvest could be down by almost a half on 2002. Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of NZ Winegrowers, said: 'In February we advised that we expected the vintage to total approximately 90,000 tons of grapes, a 25% reduction on the 2002 vintage. 'However, current reports from most areas, with the notable exceptions of Nelson and Central Otago on the South Island, are that crops are significantly lower than expected,' added Gregan. 'As a result, we now expect the vintage to be around 45% down on last year, at around 65,000 tons.' Spring frosts and cool temperatures during flowering caused most of the yield reduction. Gregan said, however, that the effect of the reduced harvest on the industry would be mitigated to some extent by good stocks from the 2002 vintage, especially of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.