New Zealand’s Wine Regions Lose Millions Of Dollars

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 02, 2016 10:25 AM EST

Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand, vineyards lost millions of liters of wine, with damages estimated to affect a fifth of storage vats.

The harvest season was only months away when the country was struck, and the country's prime regions had been badly affected. The New Zealand government established a NZ Wine Response Team to aid the affected wineries in prime sauvignon blanc county.

The places that had been hit the worst were on the north Canterbury and Marlborough regions, damaging roads, infrastructure and homes, and killing two people.

Marlborough accounts for 70% of the country's wine industry located in the region. With its 140 wineries, Marlborough wine industry is experiencing challenges.

"The key impact has been damage to around 20% of the wine storage tanks in the region, and the potential that a lack of storage will affect the ability of the industry to process the full 2017 harvest, which commences in around 15 weeks," said economic development minister Steven Joyce who had visited the affected wineries twice since the quake.

Michael Wentworth, the commercial manager of Yealands winery, confirmed that a quantity of wine had been lost. The route leading to the winery remains closed two weeks after the quake.

He noted that the government has been very proactive and asking them what they need.

"We are beginning to discuss fast-tracking working visas and possible solutions in case of a shortfall in worker number for the 2017 vintage. We are lucky it is not worse," said Wentworth.

Philip Gregan, CEO of NZ Winegrowers, said that he had been in talks with wineries who were concerned about the possible drop in tourist numbers to the region.

"The process of tank repair is already underway but it is going to be a big task which will continue for many months," he said.

Foley Family Wines reportedly sustained NZ$1 million damages to their vineyards.

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