Marlborough wine industry moves record 2022 harvest and once again demonstrates its resilience
The Marlborough region’s wine harvest in 2022 was a record 415,000 tonnes. Exceeding the previous year’s volume by 54% and 35% above the long-term average. Producing and moving this volume of wine tested all parts of the industry. This was made even more difficult by the challenges to the resilience of the supply chain caused by weather events, which shut down roads and the challenges with the shipping links from the North Island.
In spite of the challenges, a record $2.28 billion of wine was exported from New Zealand over the 12 months to January 2023 with 303 million litres moved, a 12% increase on the previous year. The USA saw the largest annual litre increase, up 16% on the previous year with exports to Australia up 23%. The vast majority of Marlborough’s export wine passes through Port Nelson. Of the 2022 harvest this is forecast to be 19,000 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) of bottled and bulk wine, a 45% increase on the previous year.
The strength of the top of the south’s supply chain is supported by the regular service of Port Nelson by three of the world’s larger container shipping lines, including direct international connections; three road routes between the Port and Marlborough which are not reliant on crossing the difficult Cook Strait and has withstood the last two major seismic events in the region; the cost-benefit of an on-port container unpacking and packing facility; and the benefit of a QuayConnect service with the ability to match import supplies to the wine industry of materials such as empty bottles, cardboard and caps with return trips of full wine bottles.
Another important part of the resilience demand for the Marlborough wine industry specifically, is the ability to export increased wine volumes based on the years harvest. Over the last 12 months, QuayConnect facilitated increased packing capacity at the Port’s 23,000m2 logistics centre; increased warehousing capacity in both Marlborough and Christchurch; hired more people on the ground; and purchased additional equipment to build efficiency. A project to install racking in the Patterson Logistics Centre is currently being explored in response to the volume uplift. QuayConnect has also committed to developing a Marlborough Inland Port. The Inland Port will contain 5,000m² of warehousing for storage and packing and a facility for container operations and storage to further build efficiencies and responsiveness for Marlborough’s importers and exporters.