Dry Conditions Spark Excitement Among New Zealand Winemakers for Exceptional Vintage

by Kaia

Wine enthusiasts, get ready to indulge—this year’s harvest promises to deliver some of the finest wines yet, as dry weather across numerous regions sets the stage for exceptional quality.


In Marlborough, a region grappling with its most severe drought in nearly a century, the conditions have aligned perfectly for grape cultivation. With the recent harvest now underway, Chief Winemaker Dave Edmunds of Kim Crawford winery is effusive about the caliber of this year’s crop.


“This harvest in Marlborough has been truly exceptional; the fruit quality is unparalleled,” remarked Edmunds in an interview with Newshub.


The historic drought has led to minimal disease pressure on the grapes, a development hailed as a boon by Marcus Pickens, Manager of Wine Marlborough.


“Thanks to the weather conditions, our wines are poised to be absolutely outstanding this year—ample sunshine, warmth, and minimal rainfall have contributed to this,” noted Pickens.

According to Edmunds, the sauvignon blanc from this year’s harvest is particularly impressive, boasting vibrant tropical fruit flavors with pronounced mango undertones.

“We’re experiencing a symphony of delightful aromas emanating from the fermentation tanks across the region,” added Edmunds.

Kim Crawford, renowned for its sauvignon blanc, is a global leader in wine sales, with over 2.5 million cases sold annually worldwide, and a top-selling position in the US and Canada.

While consistency is paramount, Edmonds emphasized that crafting a similar product each year is a finely tuned craft.

“Our goal is to produce a consistently excellent sauvignon blanc that resonates with our loyal consumers year after year,” he affirmed.

However, despite the exceptional quality anticipated this season, there’s a notable decrease in quantity, approximately 20% lower than usual.

“We’re facing a significant reduction in yield, but with surplus wine from the previous year, we’re hopeful that it will help balance out our market position,” explained Pickens.

Marlborough stands as New Zealand’s premier wine-producing region, home to 163 vineyards that collectively account for approximately 80% of the country’s wine production. In 2023, the industry exported wine worth $2.4 billion from Aotearoa.

Wineries of varying sizes, such as Astrolabe Wines, are gearing up for an exciting vintage. The Waghorn family, with decades of winemaking experience, anticipates a fruitful year ahead.

“With the smaller crop and exceptionally clean fruit from this dry season, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with,” shared Arabella Waghorn.

As New Zealanders eagerly await the arrival of this year’s vintage, slated for release around July, anticipation is high for a tasting experience that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.



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