New Zealand grape growers and wineries are breathing a sigh of relief following an improved vintage in 2022 that will help the industry rebuild stocks and sales, reports New Zealand Winegrowers.
“Going into vintage, wineries urgently needed a larger harvest as strong demand and smaller than expected crops in recent years had led to a significant shortage of New Zealand wine. That shortage has caused total New Zealand wine sales to fall 14% from the peak achieved in January 2021, even as wineries supported sales by drawing on stocks which are now at rock-bottom levels,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.
In the domestic market, the same shortage has led to sales of New Zealand wine falling to their lowest level since 2004.
“There is no doubt we urgently needed an improved harvest this year after cool weather and frosts impacted Vintage 2021. The main challenge this year was COVID-19, which greatly complicated harvest logistics with Omicron rampant throughout New Zealand just as harvest began. This created additional pressure at a time many producers were already under pressure due to labour shortages,” says Mr Gregan.
The 2022 harvest produced 532,000 tonnes of grapes, with virtually every region and all principal varieties contributing to the production turnaround from the small crop in 2021.
“The improved harvest is good news for the industry and customers. Producers will be able to rebuild seriously depleted stocks and sales, while customers should get to see retail shelves restocked once more. However, rising costs and supply chain disruption remain significant concerns to winemakers as they look to replenish markets.”
“We know demand for New Zealand wine is strong as the distinctive flavours, quality, and sustainability of our wines resonate resoundingly with wine enthusiasts around the world. Vintage 2022 is another step towards meeting that demand.”
In April, New Zealand Winegrowers launched its 2022 Sustainability Report, reporting that 10% of new Zealand wineries currently hold organic certification and more than 96% of all vineyard area in New Zealand is now certified as sustainable through the SWNZ programme. To be SWNZ certified, members must complete annual submissions and undergo regular on-site audits conducted by an independent verification company.
Credit for lead image:.NZW, Organic winery, Escarpment Vineyard, Martinborough