The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Industry insights: Vintage during COVID-19

By Amber Silvester, NZ Winegrowers Communications Manager

Unprecedented. A word that provokes an eyeroll as it is so extensively overused, but it really is the only way to describe the strange and uncertain times we are living in.

Amber Silvester

As the New Zealand wine industry started to settle into the rhythm of harvest for 2020, an announcement was made that the country would be moving into Alert Level 4 lockdown.

A ray of hope shone as we were classed as essential business and allowed to operate, although it was very clear it would in no way be business as usual – strict guidelines had to be adhered to if operations were to continue.

As an industry we were acutely aware that we were in an incredibly privileged position to be allowed to pick the grapes, and throughout the entire lockdown our number one priority remained – ensuring the safety of our people and our communities.

Now that harvest has come to an end; we can breathe sigh of relief.

While it will be forever remembered as the Covid-19 harvest; an excellent summer throughout most of New Zealand means we are looking forward to some outstanding wines emerging from this year’s vintage. Winegrowers are talking about it being one of the best vintages they have seen in decades.

However, relief for some is bittersweet. While there has been strong demand for New Zealand wine in supermarkets and online retail which has benefited our industry, on the other hand many wineries who are focused on hospitality and the cellar doors sales have suffered. The lack of tourists has hit our wine regions hard.

Encouragingly, the reputation of our wine remains strong in our key international markets, and our wines continue to resonate with consumers and the trade.

While the world has changed, what has not changed in the love that people have for New Zealand wine.

We are optimistic that demand will continue to be strong, and people will continue to shop local and support our industry – one glass of New Zealand wine at a time.

For more from NZ Winegrowers, click here.

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