This year’s grape harvest proved extra challenging for winemakers, but it's now getting its first taste test at a national competition.
Classed as essential work, 457,000 tonnes of grapes were picked and processed under strict lockdown conditions.
Day and night crews worked and lived in isolation during lockdown.
“We had 36 of us move into this hotel in the middle of downtown Blenhiem, including myself, and it was only three minutes away from my family home,” Giesen Wines senior winemaker Duncan Shouler told 1 NEWS.
“Despite being there for over a month, I couldn’t go home and see the family.”
Their efforts now being poured out before a panel of judges at the New World Wine Awards.
More than 1200 wines competing for top honours and the attention of future customers.
“[It's] saying ‘my wine has been through a process that’s rigorous, it’s of an international standard, it’s been judged by the best judges in New Zealand and this is the result of it’,” says judging chair Jim Harre.
At a time when overseas demand remains high, New Zealand’s wine export volumes in June were up six per cent on the same time last year.
Overall, they are valued at more than $1.9 billion.
“Sales into restaurants have obviously not been good, but retail sales have more than compensated for the drop in restaurant sales globally,” says Wine Marlborough Chair Tom Trolove.
Judges and wine makers alike believe 2020 will prove to be a good year for New Zealand wine.
Kiwis can decide for themselves with the vintage of 2020 set to hit shelves soon.