The trade organisation for the New Zealand wine industry has reported a 43.8% increase in grapes for the 2022 harvest, as producers look to rebuild stocks and sales.

New Zealand Winegrowers said the 2022 harvest produced 532,000 tonnes of grapes, with “virtually every region and all principal varieties contributing to the production turnaround from the small crop in 2021”. The 2021 harvest yielded 370,000 tonnes of grapes.

“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,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.  “That shortage has caused total New Zealand wine sales to fall 14% from the peak achieved in January 2021, even as wineries supported sales by drawing on stocks which are now at rock-bottom levels.”

In the domestic market, the same shortage has led to sales of New Zealand wine falling to their lowest level since 2004, the organisation said.

“There is no doubt we urgently needed an improved harvest this year after cool weather and frosts impacted vintage 2021,” added Gregan. “The main challenge this year was COVID-19, which greatly complicated harvest logistics with Omicron rampant throughout New Zealand just as harvest began. This created additional pressure at a time many producers were already under pressure due to labour shortages.”

Gregan said the improved harvest is good news for the industry and customers, though he also warned of other headwinds.

“Producers will be able to rebuild seriously depleted stocks and sales, while customers should get to see retail shelves restocked once more. However, rising costs and supply chain disruption remain significant concerns to winemakers as they look to replenish markets.”