New Zealand cyclone “a major blow” for growers and wineries - Fruit & Vine

New Zealand cyclone “a major blow” for growers and wineries

Cyclone Gabrielle has caused huge damage to some vineyards and wineries since it hit the North Island around two weeks ago – on the cusp of the busiest time of year for the wine making industry.

Stock photo for illustration only.

The extent of the damage to vineyards in the flooded areas of North Island is still being assessed, but clean-up is underway as growers look ahead to the 2023 harvest, according to Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Cyclone Gabrielle has occurred on the cusp of the busiest time of year for the industry, just as the 2023 vintage is about to begin, and it is a major blow for affected growers and wineries throughout Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne,” he commented.

“We have been working with our regional associations and government agencies to support, and help them access the resources they need to ensure the future viability of their vineyards.”

The extent of the damage in flooded regions has been varied, reports so far suggest. Many winegrowers in these areas who have not been so badly affected have been able to begin harvesting.

Others, however, have suffered huge damage to their vineyards and wineries, and these devastated winegrowers need help to begin the recovery and rehabilitation process, Philip added.

“We have a large number of vineyards in both regions that have not been as significantly impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, and these winegrowers are beginning to harvest their crop, with many producers still feeling positive and looking forward to a high-quality vintage.”

Those who have been badly affected have a long road ahead to assess the damage, carry out the clean-up and consider their future.

“The recovery funding announced by the Government this week is a good start to making this all possible, and future financial relief that is expected to be announced in due course will be appreciated.”

Philip added: “The ongoing challenges over the past few years have proven the resilience and adaptability of the New Zealand wine community, and the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle has been met with the same strength and determination. Our industry’s unwavering commitment to producing premium quality wines will prevail, so wine lovers in New Zealand and around the world can continue to enjoy the distinctive wines from these regions.”

The industry has come together to help those in need, with many reaching out with offers of financial help to aid the recovery and rehabilitation process.

Those wanting to donate directly to the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne wine communities can find more information here.

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