Wine exports for the year to May were worth $2.4 billion, up 25% on last year. Chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers Philip Gregan says given the extreme weather challenges that growers, particularly in the North Island, faced earlier in the year, this is a feel good story for the industry. Export volumes increased 20%, with about 501,000 tonnes of grapes harvested in this year’s vintage, down 6% on the record level of the vintage last year. Director and co-owner at Misha’s Vineyard, a Central Otago based vineyard, Andy Wilkinson says its been the “best season ever” . The knock-on effect from good climate conditions in Otago last year, is good fruit set for this year’s vintage. The increases happened despite damage to vineyards. Philip Gregan says up to an estimated 20,000 tonnes of grapes were lost across the North Island and while there was a whole lot of crop loss, it was from a big base.