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New Zealand Declares Largest Drought In 30 Years

"We may need to change our approach to farming," Renwick said. "Whatever the climate is, there's always something you can do."

Like, perhaps, growing grapes.

"The weather for us is stunningly good," said Philip Gregan, the chief executive of New Zealand Wine, an association representing grape growers and winemakers. "We're getting warm, dry, cooler nights. It's the perfect recipe for fully ripe fruit with fabulous flavors."

Gregan said winemakers across the country are expecting an excellent vintage as the annual grape harvest begins.

New Zealand's sauvignon blanc is well-regarded internationally, but the industry remains small when compared to farming. Winemaking accounts for about 1.2 billion New Zealand dollars ($1 billion) in exports while farming accounts for about 25 billion New Zealand dollars ($20.6 billion).

The sunny weather in the capital city Wellington has been drawing thousands of tourists and office workers to the waterfront.

Simon Edmonds, who owns the waterfront cafe Tuatua, said late summer business is up 30 to 40 percent over the same time last year. But, he said, locals seem to have become so accustomed to sunny days this year that they're not arriving in the same numbers as they did on fine days in previous years.

"People can't go out and buy lunch every single day," he said.

Some relief may come with rain in the forecast on Sunday â¿¿ although one dousing won't be nearly enough to undo the drought.

For Rose, the dairy farmer, the end of the golden weather can't come quick enough.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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