The traditional view that hand picking of grapes is needed to produce the best wine is being challenged by Auckland University research.
It shows that machine harvesting produces higher levels of the aromas characteristic of award-winning New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Associate Professor Paul Kilmartin is presenting his findings in the United States today.
"There's always been the issue that perhaps the best wines need to be made only from hand-picked grape and it's very hard to do this on a large harvesting scale. But this shows that with sauvignon blanc you really are getting the most intense Marlborough style from doing exactly that - machine harvesting.
"Certainly if they want to consistently have this high passionfruit citrus aromas in the sauvignon blanc then machine harvesting, adequate sulphur dioxide, will really assist winemakers get this more consistently."
Mr Kilmartin says machine harvesting is well-established both here and overseas, but it has generally been considered second-best in terms of grape quality and purity.