This is due to cooler spring weather and late frosts, and comes at a time when the industry is facing increased production costs. Ongoing labour shortages, due to the closure of New Zealand’s borders and restricted number of RSE workers, have also added pressure.
This is likely to put pressure on exports, which continue to rise.
Small but exceptional
“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,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.
“There will be some variability across different parts of the country, but the industry is anticipating a significantly smaller vintage across several New Zealand wine regions this year.”
Wine is a key export good for New Zealand: representing the country’s sixth largest export with more than 100 destinations. Last year, wine exports reached $2bn NZD ($1.4bn USD) after a 10-year effort to reach the milestone. The largest markets are the US, UK and Australia.
“We have seen unprecedented demand for New Zealand wine in our key export markets over the past 12 months,” said Gregan. “This meant industry stocks were at low levels going into vintage, a situation that has now been compounded by the smaller harvest. 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.
“Global demand for New Zealand wine remains strong in key international markets, including the UK, USA, and Australia. Ongoing strong export performance reflects the appreciation that the world has for New Zealand wine, and reinforces the industry’s reputation for distinct, premium, and sustainable wines."