Australia and New Zealand share the same corner of the map and both emerged in the 1980s to become successful New World wine regions. Outsiders often confuse the two countries' accents but, as anyone who has visited them will have discovered, these southern hemisphere regions have very different climates.
In 2021, Australia had its largest ever harvest, with just over two million tonnes of grapes. Frost-hit New Zealand, by contrast, picked just 370,000 tonnes, 19% less than in 2020.
One year later, the situation was reversed. According to the National Vintage Report Australia’s 2022 crop was 1.73 million tonnes, a fall of 13.5% on the previous year, while New Zealand’s harvest was reported by the national Vintage Survey as 532,000 tonnes.
The diverging trends in harvest size suited the two countries’ current market needs. Australia is having to come to terms with the loss of its huge Chinese market following the imposition of sanctions by Beijing, while, as Philip Gregan, chief executive of of New Zealand Wine Growers told New Zealand Wine Grower, “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." Winery stocks, Gregan continued, were at “rock bottom” and, as exports were prioritised, domestic sales were at their lowest level since 2004.