Around 11,000 people whose working visas are set to expire over the 2020/21 season have been granted a new visa.
Things are moving so quickly that even a daily newspaper cannot stay up with developments and I don’t stand a chance. This is a strange new world full of uncertainty, and when we look back in 10 years’ time, I hope we’re saying, ‘wow, we dodged a bullet’.
So far, harvest 2020 has dodged a bullet, with picking progressing against the backdrop of the virus. I’m writing this in the last week of March, and while the complexity of vintage has ramped up with Covid-19 precautions - including some staff self-isolated, cellar doors closed, social distancing in place, and increased hygiene measures- the fruit is looking excellent. People I spoke to welcomed the distraction of picking and pressing grapes in this time of tension, but everyone was awake to the risk. Once harvest is over, minds will go to winter pruning, where further implications of coronavirus will certainly bite.
This edition has limited content on the virus, and no calendar of events, I’m afraid, because most of them have been cancelled. Instead it has a feature on the environmental leadership of New Zealand Winegrowers, with a raft of new initiatives to embed sustainability into the industry. You’ll also find some case studies of companies doing their bit to protect their community, their land and their planet.
But of course environmental initiatives take investment, and in this time of economic uncertainty, the best intentions can be shaken. I normally shy away from an editorial sign off, but if there was any time to wish you all well – with harvest, with health and with the long-term security of your employment or your business – this is it. See you on the other side.