Despite the wet weekend winegrowers still believe they are heading towards a fantastic vintage.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said most growers would have heeded the weather warnings last week.

"There was a lot of warning that there was going to be heavy rain, so I am confident that winegrowers would have got their grapes off before the inclement weather," he said.

Persistent rain causes the grapes to soak up water and eventually split leaving them vulnerable to disease presenting a number of challenges to growers.


The amount of humidity accompanying the rainfall was another issue as the warmer the temperature the higher the chance of disease pressure.

According to the Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association deputy chairman Xan Harding the 35ml of rain was not too bad and little damage was recorded.

"We knew the rain was coming so had a busy few days at the start of last week while we worked hard to get the white wine harvest under way."

He said the grape harvest resumed again today after it was stopped during the weekend.

"Of course we would like it to never rain but we are prepared for it as Hawke's Bay often has a wet March so it's business as usual. We are still heading towards a fantastic vintage."

It was a similar story for fruit growers with little crop damage being accounted for across the region.

Pipfruit New Zealand business development manager Gary Jones said that in the Hawke's Bay, the Royal Gala crop - which represented about a third of the total apple crop - had been harvested before the downpour.

He said there would now be a seasonal lull before the rest of the crop was harvested but the higher rainfall was not ideal as it made fruit softer to handle and prone to bruising.

This long spell of wet weather has also affected the fire restriction status pulling it back to "open" in Hastings.

The open status applies across the Hastings district, except for areas in the control of the Department of Conservation or Bay Forests Rural District.

That means outdoor fires can be lit but they must be out by dusk. Fires intended to burn later than that require a permit.

Hastings District Council's principal rural fire office Trevor Mitchell said this change does not mean people should be careless.

"Even in the wettest conditions there will always be situations where fires are a very real risk," he said.

While rain is forecast to fall today, Wednesday will see an easing of southerly winds and the few lingering showers clearing.

A Metservice representative said a trough was expected to move northwards over the east of the upper South Island and North Island today and would bring with it a strong southerly change before moving away northeast on Wednesday.

There was a "low confidence" the departing trough could bring some gale force winds to the region today.

The winds will ease on Wednesday and Thursday is set to be cloudy with only the chance of a shower as an approaching high pressure system moving off the Tasman edges across the country, pushing the rain and wind-laden low away to the east.

By Friday the temperatures across Napier and Hastings will have risen to 23C and the day is forecast to be mainly fine, with little wind.

The weekend looks sparkling at this stage with Saturday lining up with sunny skies and Sunday mainly fine with some cloud.