Grape growers in Northland are expecting a quality bumper crop this year after a hot dry summer.
MetService rainfall figures for January in Northland are significantly down on the same month last year with just 5mm falling, compared to 287mm last year.
In Whangārei, 10mm fell in the first month of this year compared to 114mm last year, while Kaitaia saw 6mm in contrast to 154mm last year. Data for Dargaville was unavailable.
MetService data also showed Kaitaia's maximum temperature last January was 29 degrees and this year it reached 31. Kerikeri reached 30C last year and 31 this year. In Whangārei the mercury reached 29C in 2018 and climbed to 30 this year.
Kerikeri's Kainui Rd Vineyard owner Alan Thompson said the hot, dry weather was good for grapes, which "dislike the wet intently".
He grows grapes for all sorts of wine including pinot gris, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and more.
Thompson also grows kiwifruit and citrus which are irrigated.
"This sort of year is why the Kerikeri irrigation system was put in place. It's really paying for itself."
Marsden Estate's Rod MacIvor said the hot dry weather means the grapes had stayed small and had high sugar levels with more concentrated flavour. The hot weather also helped the fruit ripen faster.
He said they process grapes for 20 or 30 other growers in the region. Yesterday was the second day of processing, with three vineyards having started picking.
"We expect to crush 140 tonne of grapes this year," MacIvor said.
He said last year the Northland region processed about 100 tonne of grapes, and this year it was predicted be more than 200 tonne.
"Even if we do get an average amount of rain, it still will be a great vintage because we've had a great start."
MacIvor said picking would go on for about nine weeks, first grapes for white wines and then for reds.
MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said today would be fine again, with some areas of low cloud and fog possible in the morning and returning in the evening. Otherwise it would be fine and sunny.
Tomorrow would follow a similar pattern - some areas of cloud in the morning and then generally fine.
Sunday will see a bit more cloud and there could be the odd light shower "but it would be 'lucky' if you got one".
A light breeze which starts southwest today , will go around to the east on Sunday.
Temperatures would stay in the high 20s, sitting around 26 to 28C over the next three days. Overnight lows would hover in the high teens, around 17 or 18C.
The tail end of a cyclone in the south Pacific which brought bigger swells on the east coast earlier this week had fizzled out but Coutts said three or four lows up to the north east would continue to provide an easterly swell up to two metres for the next few days.
It means ideal weather to hit the beach with the boogie board or surfboard this weekend.