Photo credit: New Zealand Wine Inc, Escarpment Vineyard.

An improved yield in 2022 will come as a balm to New Zealand’s wineries and growers after a low return on the 2021 vintage.

As a result of shortages in the wake of the 2021 vintage, sales of Kiwi wine fell to their lowest level since 2004.

Philip Gregan, CEO of industry group New Zealand Winegrowers, said that an increase in fruit quantities will help wineries to restore their reserves.

“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,” Gregan commented.

“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.”

The 2022 harvest has produced 532,000 tonnes of grapes, with each wine region, and each variety grown in New Zealand, increasing their production.

“There is no doubt we urgently needed an improved harvest this year after cool weather and frosts impacted Vintage 2021,” Gregan continued.

Gregan had previously flagged the ‘desperate’ need for a bigger harvested in 2022.

“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.

“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,” Gregan added.

New Zealand wine exports have now hit a dollar value of NZ$1.93bn, while domestic sales total 42m litres in volume.

Gregan said that this improved harvest will help the industry meet demand both internationally, and at home.

“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,” he concluded.

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