WIN OFTEN provides a reflection on the country where it was made. Take, for example, Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand. Even in a year like 2020, both the country and wine have succeeded. New Zealand is nearly COVID-19 free and vintage is one of the best in recent history.
The early months of the year were unfavorable. In the Southern Hemisphere, that’s when the harvest occurs. In 2020, the Sauvignon Blanc harvest runs from late February to early April; by the end of March, nearly all of New Zealand was in strict isolation. But while the virus is attacking badly around the world, it has barely touched New Zealand.
The wines for the Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc winery come from a vineyard in Martinborough. Chief winemaker Julian Grounds said he was initially hesitant about the harvest in the shadow of Covid, but the near-perfect weather changed his outlook. “I truly feel we all share collective relief when the forecast remains so fantastic,” he said in an email.
Jill Sherwood, director of Sherwood Estate Wines in Waipara, recalled the initial uncertainty over whether or not a harvest would occur. After the winery workers were authorized “important” by the government, the harvest went off very smoothly – even more than this year, which is happening now. The winery is currently understaffed as some foreign workers returned home last year and New Zealand continues to restrict the entry of foreigners into the country.
Last year, Sherwood staff were allowed to travel between their home and winery during harvest – with documents explaining why they were on the road – while crew at the Greywacke winery in the Omaka Valley in Marlborough “squatted” at the winery headquarters and at the winemaker house. Kevin Judd. There is also a camper van parked on the property. It turned out very easy, said Mr. Judd. “Vintage wines just passed,” he said, adding that his 2020 wines were “as good as we’ve ever made.”