The 2023 wine grape harvest is kicking into gear, with the first of Marlborough’s sauvignon blanc set to be picked this week.
Last season 532,000 tonnes of grapes from around 700 wineries were harvested in New Zealand, with the sauvignon blanc variety accounting for about 75 percent of total production.
Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said volumes from the 2023 vintage should be on par with the long term average.
“We have to be happy with that, everyone wants more, and the market is certainly demanding that, but I think in terms of volume, it’s a good result.”
Pickens said it was critical the weather stayed dry and windy for the quality of the fruit to be maintained.
Easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions had seen the supply of labour on vineyards improve this year, which was a huge relief as wineries would not have coped with a fourth season of not having enough experienced staff, Pickens said.
A number of the larger wineries have increased the amount of permanent workforce they have in the winery all year…
Central Otago viticulturist James Dicey agreed that labour was in better supply this year, with numbers of backpackers and the RSE workers slowly picking up.
Dicey, who runs over 50 vineyards, said pinot noir grapes, destined for rosé production, as well as chardonnay grapes were starting to be harvested in Central Otago this week.