[22 February/NZ Farmer]

According to winemakers, former cyclone Gita should have little effect on the start of the grape harvest as long as the sun stays around. Although heavy rain fell in Marlborough creating widespread surface flooding, winemakers say it is unlikely to affect their grape harvesting schedules. Pernod Ricard Operations Manager, Tony Robb, said that if the weather forecast was right, his grapes would have a few days to dry out before the harvest started. Mr Robb noted that wet weather had increased the chances of disease which would affect grapes. Hunter’s Wines Chief Winemaker, James Macdonald, said they were monitoring their vineyards closely, and that he expected some sort of disease to show up before harvest. Mr Macdonald added that their grapes grown for sparkling wines would not be harvested for two weeks.