Monday, 08 June 2020 12:50

Evolve & survive

Written by  Sophie Preece
New Zealand’s wine industry is adapting to survive and thrive. Inset: Sophie Preece. New Zealand’s wine industry is adapting to survive and thrive. Inset: Sophie Preece.

At Boneline in Waipara, Paul Goodege ferments grapes grown on the fossils of dinosaurs, the bones of moa, and a landscape carved by a glacier.

They’re all poignant symbols that things can change, over millennia or overnight, and that adaptability isn’t a given. Read more about Boneline's evolution here.

Covid-19 has certainly forced change on the world, and New Zealand’s wine industry is adapting to survive and thrive. Individual companies, large and small, have each been faced with shared and unique challenges – from harvesting fruit and selling wine, to planning for the ‘new normal’, whatever that turns out to be.

Those reliant on restaurants were struck a particularly harsh blow, but they’re not out for the count, instead using high tech platforms to tell their (often low tech) rich and authentic stories. Live tastings, webinars and Zoom meetings have become part of the vino vernacular, while companies across the board up the ante on social media. 

Ultimately, borders will open, travellers will return, and winemakers will again fly into markets. But the old normal will not return and nor should it. Digital experts have long urged the wine industry to take advantage of technology and its remarkable ability to beam you into the home or business of your greatest (or potential) fans all around the globe. For all the pain, now and ahead, it’s been a powerful time of learning and connection, with people and with technology. 

A business advisor suggests the industry can survive, adapt and thrive through this period of change. Cloudy Bay’s Estate Director Yang Shen agrees. The Chinese word for crisis combines the characters for danger and opportunity, Yang says. “I do think that the crisis will be gone really quickly, and only opportunity will remain.” 

More like this

Covid's urban/rural divide

According to a new study from the University of Otago, there was a visible rural/urban divide in Covid-19 vaccination rates.

Covid inquiry to visit Northland

Better understanding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the people of Northland, and the role communities played in the pandemic response, will be the focus of a visit from the Covid-19 Inquiry, says inquiry chair Professor Tony Blakely.

Reflecting a challenging period

Damien O'Connor admits his six years in office were incredibly challenging, with Covid, droughts, floods, storms, M. bovis and volcanic eruptions to name a few.

Editorial: Time for change

OPINION: With election day only a few days away and advance voting well underway, there appears to be a mood for change in rural and provincial New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online


Editorial: Plenty of tears

Editorial: Plenty of tears

OPINION: Rachael Cook is the smiling grape grower on this month’s cover, tending vines on the miniscule, beautiful and dream-driven vineyard…

Popular Reads

Ten years of Méthode Marlborough

New Zealand wine enthusiasts have a deepening understanding and growing appreciation of sparkling wine, says Mel Skinner, Chair of Méthode Marlborough…

Sustainability Success

Taking two sustainability awards at two events on a single evening felt like "true recognition" of the work Lawson's Dry…