2002 New Zealand

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New Zealand winemakers were celebrating after a bumper harvest in 2002. After 2000 and 2001 in which yields hit an all-time low, 2002 witnessed a massive 67% rise in production over last year. Much of the country experienced unseasonably wet conditions toward the end of summer in January and February. The extra rain stimulated vine growth, forcing more quality-focused winemakers to devote extra time to leaf-plucking and shoot-thinning. Every region apart from Nelson, which is at the northwestern tip of New Zealand's South Island, appears to have had a bountiful harvest. New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Phillip Gregan commented that 2002 "will be remembered for the long, dry autumn that prevailed in many areas. The Indian Summer provide excellent ripening conditions, reduced disease pressure and encouraged wineries to hang grapes on the vine as long as possible to ensure full ripeness. As a result, nationally …. The grape crop was in very good-to-excellent condition." Pinot Noir fared exceptionally well in the South Island's Central Otago region, according to Greg Hay of Peregrine Wines. "We had 45 days without rain before we picked our Pinot Noir," he said. "It had the smallest, most flavor-concentrated berries that I have ever seen. We have had a dream run over the last five vintages, but this is the best yet."

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