21 Feb 2022

International demand growing for New Zealand wine, growers aim for bigger harvest

4:28 pm on 21 February 2022

The country's wine industry says it "desperately" needs a bigger harvest this year to replenish stocks and keep up with international demand.

no caption.

Photo: 123rf

Winegrowers said the quality of the 2021 harvest was "exceptional" but it was 19 percent smaller than the previous year, meaning wineries were forced to drawn down on their stocks to hold their position in the market.

"New Zealand wine sales for 2021 were 324 million litres, meaning they were 48 million litres more than was actually produced in the 2021 vintage," New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said.

"This stock drawdown highlights that we desperately need a bigger harvest in 2022, to replenish cellars, and help satisfy international demand."

On the flipside, the ongoing increase in international demand had proven that the quality of the country's winde were resonating with customers around the world, Gregan said.

The outlook for the 2022 harvest was challenging as wineries managed rising production costs, staff shortages, and supply chain disruptions.

"The unavailability of skilled workers due to the ongoing closure of New Zealand's borders means undoubtedly this vintage will be more difficult to manage than normal."

Meanwhile, those wineries that rely on on-premise sales continued to face setbacks as there had not been an influx of international tourists for two summers, Gregan said.

"Positively, we have seen more New Zealanders visiting cellar doors, but there are long, lean periods as we move out of the traditional Kiwi holiday period."

New Zealand exports wines to more than 100 countries, with the largest markets in Britain, United States and Australia.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs