New Zealand 2021 Harvest: Sauvignon Blanc Shortage on the Horizon?

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

© New Zealand Winegrowers Inc.

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand

© New Zealand Winegrowers Inc.

New Zealand Wine reported a 370,000 ton grape crop for the 2021 vintage. This represents a 19% drop compared to last year. While volume is down, the quality of the harvest is described as “exceptional.

Not all growing regions were equally hit: Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, and North Canterbury are all 20% down while Central Otago is 21% up.

With 69.63% of the country’s vineyards, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest and economically most important wine region. It is home to 27,808 hectares/ 68,715 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and the diminished harvest will have an effect on supply and pricing.

Supply Tension

“While the quality is exceptional, the overall smaller harvest means many of our wineries will face tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets. There is going to be some supply and demand tension because of this, with the shortfall in the crop equivalent to roughly 7 million 9 litre cases of New Zealand wine,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

In 2020, 87.66% of New Zealand's total wine exports were of Sauvignon Blanc. Its most important export markets are the US, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Germany.

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