February 28, 2012 — Snooth Editor-in-Chief Greg Dal Piaz has been making a lot of buzz about New Zealand wines recently, so he and others who are passionate about the region may be disappointed to hear that the 2012 New Zealand vintage is predicted to be smaller than last year’s.
The industry predicts that grape crops could be as much as 30 percent lower than 2011’s 362,000-ton harvest, according to Decanter.com. The drop in crop could mean both a shortage and an end to the country’s streak of growth over the past decade, Decanter.com Reporter Rebecca Gibb writes.
Export sales in New Zealand wines increased from 246 million New Zealand dollars ($206 million U.S.) in 2002 to NZ$1.1 billion ($921.25 million U.S.) in 2011. A light crop will mean a drop in bulk sales, which accounted for about 20 percent of total volumes in 2011. Despite this potential drop, the industry hopes that a smaller supply could mean increased profitability.
“Stuart Smith, chair of industry body, New Zealand Winegrowers, told Decanter.com: 'I expect that the vintage will be around 300,000 tonnes. However, even if we had a 328,000 tonne harvest like last year, we would still be short by about 10%. We now have very low stocks on hand and export sales are growing at a good rate.'”