The Hawke's Bay wine industry looks to have scored a hat-trick of quality vintages.

Many in the business are describing the almost-harvested 2015 vintage as a "great one".

With more than 85 per cent of the grapes now in, there were already plenty of smiles.

The 2013 and 2014 vintages across the Bay were stand-outs with several winemakers describing them as among the best over the past century, and initial indications for the latest harvest are that it will be three in a row.


Hawke's Bay is the first region to forecast the quality of the 2015 vintage.

"There are few regions that are able to claim three great vintages in a row," Michael Henley, Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association chairman and CEO of Trinity Hill, said.

"We have had really good fruit and yields are down - generally when yields are down quality is better."

The only time during the season growers and winemakers held their collective breaths was when Cyclone Pam edged down toward the eastern regions in mid-March.

But the Bay got lucky and only the tail end of the cyclone brushed the province.

Black Bridge Estate owner and deputy chairman of winegrowers Xan Harding described that tail end as merely "a little drink for the vines".

There was, however, an earlier move to the harvesting schedule across the 266 vineyards throughout the region when early April rains became consistent.

The recipe for the third stand-out vintage had been the long, dry summer and little in the way of early frosts.

Mr Harding described growing conditions as excellent.

He said with the bulk of the harvest now in and under the guidance of the winemakers, it appeared merlot and chardonnay would be the stand-outs.

It is anticipated the harvest will echo last year's in that about two thirds of it was made into white wine and the remainder into red.

Mr Henley said that while the 2015 pick had been down across the board, the association would not know the exact tonnage figure until the end of June.

At that same time he said winemakers would be able to confidently validate their optimism for the vintage.

"Most would be considering this to be a very good, solid vintage," he said.

Those winemakers would be sharing their evaluations with visitors to the planned Hot Red Hawke's Bay Wine Expo event in Wellington and Auckland in June.

Vidal Estates's Hugh Crichton, Sacred Hill's Tony Bish, Clearview Winery's Tim Turvey and John Hancock from Trinity Hill will also be staging wine master classes at the expos.