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2020 NZ harvest "exceptional"

Published:  03 September, 2020

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, New Zealand’s 2020 vintage is “exceptional” in terms of both quality and quantity, according to the 2020 New Zealand Winegrowers Annual Report.

Production volumes rose 10.6% from 297.4 million litres in 2019 to 329 million litres in the 2020 harvest.

Average yields were at 11.4 tonnes per hectare, the best performance since 2016.

John Clarke, chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, said: “Our total 2020 harvest reflects the near perfect growing conditions experienced in most of the country, and a 2% increase in planted area to 39,935ha.

“Our sustained export success, even during a global pandemic, reinforces our international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines. This year’s vintage will help the industry to meet the high demand for New Zealand wine.”

The country’s wine exports rose 6% in the year to June 2020, hitting NZ$1.92bn (£970m) for the first time.

Exports to the US rose 8.3% by volume and 11.6% by value. Volume exports to the UK slipped fractionally, while their value rose 3.9%.

Sauvignon Blanc continues to dominate New Zealand’s export sales, accounting for 87.6% by volume, up from 85.8% in 2019.

The trend towards sustainability continues to grow, with over 96% of New Zealand’s land under vine now certified sustainable. In addition, some 73 of the countries 717 wineries are now certified organic, as are 111 of its 693 wine growers.

There are signs of optimism regarding negotiations for a free-trade agreement with the EU, the report notes. Meanwhile, uncertainty around Brexit continues to pose challenges for New Zealand’s exports to the UK.