13 Jun 2021

Grape harvest drops but winegrowers remain optimistic

4:44 pm on 13 June 2021

New Zealand Winegrowers say this year's grape crop is 19 percent smaller than last year's, but the quality is 'exceptional'.

Farm worker filling basket of green grapes in the vineyards during the grape harvest. Woman putting grapes into the plastic crate. Focus on grapes in container.

Photo: 123RF

Only 370,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested during the 2021 vintage.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said this is 19 percent less than last year's crop. That's a shortfall equivalent to 7 million nine-litre cases of wine.

But that smaller 2021 vintage is being described as exceptional, thanks to favourable weather conditions.

"The autumn was wonderful throughout the country. It's going to deliver wines from Kaitaia down to Alexandra of really fantastic quality.

"It's a wonderful year to be a consumer of New Zealand wine."

Gregan said the industry is also facing increased production costs and labour shortages.

He is urging the government to rethink its planned wine excise, which will see the tax on wine rise on 1 July.

Gregan said the industry is under a lot of pressure, especially from the Covid-19 pandemic, and now is not the right time to raise taxes on wine.

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