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2022 harvest to alleviate “rock-bottom” stocks in New Zealand

Published:  16 June, 2022

New Zealand’s latest harvest will help to re-build stocks following a small and disappointing crop in 2021, which has led to a “significant shortage” of wine, New Zealand Winegrowers has said.

Last year, 370,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested across New Zealand’s regions, with volumes down in each of the country’s key regions bar one (Central Otago).

The crush in 2022 is now being reported at a significantly healthier 532,000 tonnes, with virtually every region and all principal varieties contributing to the production turnaround.

“There is no doubt we urgently needed an improved harvest this year after cool weather and frosts impacted vintage 2021,” Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, said.

“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.”

In 2021, the shortage caused total New Zealand wine sales to fall 14% from a peak achieved earlier that year. Wineries supported those sales by drawing on stocks which are now at “rock-bottom levels”, Gregan said. In the domestic market, the same shortage has led to sales of New Zealand wine falling to their lowest level since 2004.

“The improved harvest is good news for the industry and customers,” Gregan added, as producers will be able to “re-build seriously depleted stocks and sales, while customers should get to see retail shelves restocked once more”. However, he cautioned that rising costs and supply chain disruption remain “significant concerns to winemakers as they look to replenish markets”.