The wine division of Fosters Group, Beringer Blass Wine Estates, has announced a 22% increase in its Australian grape harvest which it said reflected the strong growth which it anticipates for the company's Australian produced wine brands.

Chief winemaker, Chris Hatcher, said the overall quality of the Beringer Blass 2003 Australian intake was excellent in spite of the drought that the country had experienced.

However, Beringer Blass said its New Zealand operations had recorded a 10% drop in its 2003 harvest owing to unfavourable weather conditions.