New Zealand Wineries Hope for Bigger 2022 Harvest

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

© shutterstock

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

© shutterstock

The 2021 harvest in New Zealand was 19% smaller than the previous year, leaving winemakers struggling with low stock levels. Wine sales totalled 324 million litres in 2021, 48 million litres more than was actually produced in last year's vintage, said Philip Gregan, the chief executive of industry organisation New Zealand Wine.

"This stock drawdown highlights that we desperately need a bigger harvest in 2022, to replenish cellars, and help satisfy international demand,” he said. 

"Not enough wine to go around"

“Over the past 12 months many New Zealand wineries have faced tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets, and the ongoing increase in international demand has placed huge strain on already depleted stocks. For some wineries, there has been quite simply just not enough wine to go around,” Gregan said.

There is ongoing international demand for New Zealand's premium wine but he noted increasing production costs as well as the effects of Covid-19 on the border, markets and supply chains have continued to impact the industry. New Zealand has had strict border controls and quarantine since the start of the pandemic, and is only just preparing to let non-citizens re-enter the South Pacific country.

The labour shortage is described as "critical" in some winegrowing regions. Marlborough, whose Sauvignon Blanc is world-famous, is New Zealand's largest and most economically important region with about 70% of the country's vineyards.

“The unavailability of skilled workers due to the ongoing closure of New Zealand’s borders means undoubtedly this vintage will be more difficult to manage than normal,” Gregan added.

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