[12 October/ New Zealand Herald]

The 2017 vintage was jeopardised due to constant rain in March, and over the weekend of 7 October 21.4mm of rain fell across greater Napier and 13mm around Hastings. This weekend rain disturbed harvesting and created lower than expected varietal volumes for some growers. Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Chairman Michael Henley said the 2016 harvest picked 42,000 tonnes of grapes while 2017 declined to 33,000. Chardonnay was mostly unaffected, as that variety that had mainly been picked before the rain. Later cabernet sauvignon has also come through well. Mr Henley has no doubts the region will deliver outstanding wines this vintage to rival the golden vintages of 2013 to 2016, however, the region needed to be selective about what was brought in. Mr Henley further added winemakers and growers are prepared for rain during harvesting, with years of experience.