With all the carnage in parts of this land … the one thing that never changes is the march of time and regardless of the disaster 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% of total production. Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens says volumes from the 2023 vintage in their region should be on par with the long-term average. He says in terms of volume, it’s a good result.

Pickens says it’s critical the weather stays dry and windy for the quality of the fruit to be maintained. Central Otago viticulturist James Dicey is also happy that labour is in better supply this year, with numbers of backpackers and RSE workers slowly picking up. James Dicey runs over 50 vineyards and says pinot noir grapes, destined for rosé production, as well as chardonnay grapes, are starting to be harvested in Central Otago this week…along with grapes for methode champenoise too. Hopefully we’ll have something to celebrate soon!!