Aussie leisure group Foster's said that its Beringer Blass wine unit’s Australian grape intake was 22% up on its 2002 season.

However, dry conditions in New Zealand caused a 10% fall in Beringer's New Zealand grape harvest.

Beringer, with brands such as Wolf Blass and Yellowglen, the overall quality of its Australian intake was “excellent despite the drought”.

Beringer expects the total NZ industry grape tonnage to fall 45% to 65,000 tons in 2003.

But added that the quality of the fruit harvested from both the north and the south of islands was “exceptional”.