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New Zealand 2024 harvest down on last two years

Published:  31 January, 2024

With the New Zealand grape harvest just weeks away, expectations are high for this year’s crop as the warm summer continues in winegrowing regions across the country.

However, the early indications are that the 2024 harvest will not be as fruitful as 2023 in terms of yields, which delivered 501,000 tonnes of grapes and exported more than NZ$2 billion of wine. 

“Commencement of the grape harvest is now just a few weeks away and there is a real sense of anticipation this year. El Niño traditionally delivers lots of warmth and sunshine in our winegrowing regions and it has certainly been the case this season,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Since flowering in December, the weather has been close to ideal for grapes. All the reports we are receiving suggest ripening is progressing well and disease pressure is low. With the grapes in excellent condition, it seems we are heading towards another quality New Zealand wine vintage,” continued Gregan.

While the quality outlook is positive, Gregan said the expectation was for a lighter yield this year. 

“We are expecting some lift in crop volumes in northern regions this year, but nationally we expect the 2024 harvest to be down on the last two years, perhaps significantly so. We are about to conduct our pre-vintage survey of wineries and expect this will confirm all the anecdotal reports of a smaller crop in 2024,” Gregan said.

In 2023, New Zealand winemakers celebrated a bumper harvest providing a much-needed boost to the world’s wine supply at a time when the global crush is at an all-time low.

While Cyclone Gabrielle took a major toll in February last year, the 2023 harvest delivered dividends, with New Zealand wines experiencing strong growth in the UK.

In the UK, value total sales were up 7.7% in 2023 for New Zealand – well above the total category growth for UK wine of 2.2%. Volume also saw a sizeable uplift of 5.6%, as total wine volumes fell by 2.9% (NIQ Nielsen off-premise).

The region had a particularly good time in the UK off-trade last year, where New Zealand wine contributed over £1 in £4 of UK off-premise retail sales growth in the still wine category. Its share of the total UK wine category sits at 8.5% in terms of value, largely due to the ongoing success of Sauvignon Blanc.

Some 90% of New Zealand wine is exported, with the three major markets being the US, UK, and Australia.