How global COVID-19 lockdowns are benefitting Kiwi wine exporters

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been rough for many sectors throughout the economy, Kiwi wine exporters are going from strength to strength.

According to Rabobank's latest Wine Quarterly report, wine exporters are benefiting from more people drinking at home, across the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Hayden Higgins, RaboResearch wine analyst, says despite the wine industry suffering from restaurants around the world being closed due to lockdowns and a weak service industry, home consumption of wine has risen in recent months.

"As we know COVID has brought a lot of challenges to a lot of sectors and the wine sector hasn't been immune," Higgens told Magic Talk's Rural Today on Thursday.

"But what we have seen flowing though is actually a big uptick in demand through retail channels, as people are obviously restricted from dining out in many countries that we export to and subject to various lockdowns, so [they are] drinking more wine at home, which has been a good story for New Zealand exporters."

Higgens said sauvignon blanc exports continue to make up the lion's share of New Zealand's wine exports, up 131 percent year-on-year to August 2020 to a total of 261 million litres.

"Our exports are ahead of where they were [at the same time in 2019] and also the value and importantly the volume are both up at the same time," he said.

"How long it will continue for is still subject to some uncertainty but the longer we see lockdowns in place and consumers still willing to spend then that will probably remain a positive story for New Zealand exports."

He said the growth was even more remarkable given that many of the world's major wine exporters had seen a drop in volume and value amid COVID-19.