Heavy rain over the weekend, coming on the back of previous falls in the past two weeks, has Hawke's Bay winegrowers feeling nervous.

As of yesterday morning, 21.4mm of rain had fallen in the Napier area since last Saturday morning, and Hastings had received 13mm in the same period.

"We're very nervous - the continual rain has not been ideal for the grapes along with a high level of humidity," said Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association chairman Michael Henley.

But there was still some time for the vintage to work if it dried out over the next three to four weeks, he added.


He had not heard of anyone in real trouble with their crop, and most of the white harvest had been completed, which was a positive.

"This year will challenge a few winemakers.

"But we are a bit more experienced as an industry now - we know the seasons and the vineyards better - we can cope better with adverse conditions."

Although he had not been updated on the situation in Hawke's Bay as of yesterday, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the wet conditions were a problem.

"Rain is not what we order at this time of year."

With a warm, sunny lead-up from mid to late February he said the flavours should be good.

"It now just depends on the condition of the fruit - I have got all fingers and toes crossed."

At Clearview Estate Winery, owner Tim Turvey said the winery could do without the rain now, but he was happy with what had been picked so far.


"We have only just started, we've probably picked about a fifth to a quarter of production and it's looking fantastic."

The wet weather brought to mind similar conditions experienced in 2012, he said.

"We weathered that storm - it might be different for us here, though, being on the coast and having the breeze to dry things out."

He said that so far the fruit was holding out.

"We knew this was coming and all of our vineyard management is up to date - we just want some drying out now."

In Central Hawke's Bay, Rosie Butler from Lime Rock Wines in Tikokino was thankful that the winery's grape harvest was a couple of weeks off yet.


"We would prefer it to be fine but our grapes are looking really good, we come in later than northern Hawke's Bay, we're usually about three weeks behind."

Despite about 8mm of rain at the weekend, she said there had been no berry splitting, helped by the fact they had been doing a lot of shoot thinning and training so the canopy was not too bulky and allowed the breeze to get through.

"Being on the hills our vineyard gets some gentle breezes, and we also have grass cover underneath that we mow and it retains a lot of the moisture - all these things help."