New Zealand's 2010 wine grape harvest is expected to be slightly smaller than last year's, easing concern about oversupply among industry leaders.

This year's harvest is expected to be between 265,000 and 285,000 tonnes, marginally lower than the 285,000 tonnes produced in 2009, according to a survey of growers by trade body New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW).

The news has helped to ease concern that an overupply of wine could see New Zealand lose premium price points in key export markets, such as the UK.

NZW chief executive Philip Gregan said today (24 February): “The challenging global environment in which New Zealand wines are being marketed and sold, means producers will continue to focus on the key element in New Zealand wines’ export success of the past two decades – producing world class grapes and wines.

"The prospect of a slightly reduced vintage, despite a further increase in the producing area, testifies to that quality focus.”

Despite a lower predicted grape haul, plantings have increased. The 2010 vintage will be produced from 33,000 hectares, 2,000 more than in 2009.

New Zealand wine firm Oyster Bay today reported a reduction in net losses for its half-year.