The growing regions of Hawke's Bay, the second largest in the country, and Gisborne, the third largest, were particularly affected. This is the worst possible time for the wineries, as the grape harvest is just around the corner.
The clean-up work is currently underway in many places. The damage has not yet been quantified and the evaluation is still ongoing. The situation varies greatly from region to region: some winegrowers are hardly affected and have already started harvesting. Others, on the other hand, have been badly hit and are dependent on support. According to media reports, vineyards in the regions were completely under water, some were even swept into the sea, buildings, cellars, halls were flooded and destroyed.
"Cyclone Gabrielle has occurred on the cusp of the busiest time of the year for the industry, just ahead of the start of the 2023 grape harvest. It is a huge blow to the affected growers and wineries in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne. We have been working with our regional associations and government agencies to support them and help them get the resources they need to ensure the future viability of their vineyards," says Philip Gregan, CEO of marketing organisation New Zealand Winegrowers.
Solidarity in the industry is strong, according to New Zealand Winegrowers. Where the harvest has begun, the winegrowers are optimistic about bringing in a good vintage, he says. Hawke's Bay and Gisborne contributed about 12 per cent to New Zealand's total harvest of 532,000 tonnes at the last harvest. The South Island with New Zealand's largest growing region Marlborough, on the other hand, got off lightly.