New Zealand’s 2021 vintage will be about quality, not quantity

Smaller-than-expected harvest to intensify existing export demand.

Credit: Matawhero
Credit: Matawhero

Though not yet complete, New Zealand’s 2021 harvest is shaping up to be smaller than in previous years. Market analysts assume a 30 percent decline compared to the previous year.

Despite this, the harvest is said to be set to provide a “vintage of excellent quality,” according to this week’s press release from New Zealand Winegrowers. CEO Philip Gregan says, “All reports indicate the quality of the harvest so far is exceptional, and we are looking forward to some fantastic wines coming out of this year’s vintage.” 

Favourable summer weather throughout most of New Zealand has almost guaranteed the quality of this vintage. However, the cool spring weather and late frosts have contributed to the decreased size of the crop. This, along with increased production costs and COVID-related issues such as border closures and a limited number of available workers, means there is additional pressure on the industry. 

Due to an “unprecedented demand” for New Zealand wine in the past year, Gregan says that there was already a low supply going into this harvest season. This will now be compounded, according to Gregan, by the decreased harvest. Gregan says, “We are already seeing supply and demand tension as a result, and we expect that many wineries will face tough decisions on who they can supply in their key markets over the next year.”

New Zealand exports its wines to over 100 countries and wine is its sixth-largest export. The total export value reached a record NZD 2 billion in the 12 months to October 2020. kw

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