The upcoming harvest season in New Zealand is expected to see high quality grapes despite lower volumes, according to the latest predictions from the New Zealand Winegrowers trade body. 

Expected to commence in late February in the northern regions of New Zealand, the annual harvest is set to see lower yields than previous years. Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, said: “Nationally we expect the 2024 harvest to be down on the last two years, perhaps significantly so.”

This is mainly due to “variable” weather conditions in spring, with Gregan saying: “The weather was up and down, and the cooler weather impacted on the fruit set.” The trade body will conduct its pre-vintage survey of its member wineries to “confirm all the anecdotal reports of a smaller crop in 2024”. 

However, improved weather conditions in December means that grapes are expected to be in “excellent condition” despite the estimated drop in volumes. 

“Quality expectations for the upcoming grape harvest are positive amongst grape growers and wineries as the warm summer continues in winegrowing regions around New Zealand.  Since flowering in December, the weather has been close to ideal for grapes. All the reports we are receiving suggest ripening is progressing well and disease pressure is low,” said Gregan. 

Beginning in a few weeks, the harvest season in New Zealand usually continues until May.