A Season Of Outstanding Quality For New Zealand Winegrowers
After a smaller than usual harvest this year, New Zealand winemakers are excited about the excellent fruit and wine quality, though careful management of inventory is required to meet escalating global demand.
Spring was cooler than usual in 2021, with frosts occurring until unusually late in the season. This, combined with increasing costs of production, has made wine harvesting more difficult and expensive than usual.
The globally renowned wine-growing region of Marlborough was hit especially hard by these frosts. As an area famous for the quality of its wine – particularly Sauvignon Blanc -– this shortage of grapes has created a number of downstream implications for the wine industry, both here in New Zealand as well as internationally.
Compounding the challenges with frost is the New Zealand wine industry’s reliance on the influx of seasonal workers on working visas who make an immense contribution during labour heavy periods such as harvest. With Covid closing the borders, these people have not been able to enter the country in the past year. Attracting New Zealanders into these roles has proved far more costly and difficult for many growers, especially those in rural areas.
Meanwhile, demand for New Zealand wines both nationally and internationally is rapidly increasing, meaning that this year’s harvest was critical to help meet the growing demand.
Whilst the world may not run out of New Zealand wine, careful management of inventory, demand and pricing is required to bridge the gap between a strong 2020 vintage and 2021’s shortfall.
The upside to all of this is that the grapes from this year’s harvest are of exceptional quality, ensuring our wines from 2021 will be a memorable vintage. Those who can get their hands on a bottle of 2021 Babich Wines will no doubt be delighted with their choice.