A series of brutal spring frosts combined with a drought-like harvest season has significantly reduced the yield of Sauvignon Blanc grapes in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the second-largest producer in the world after France.
“The Sauvignon Blanc yields in Marlborough alone are 30 percent down,” a representative from Pernod Ricard, which owns the leading producer Brancott Estate, told The Drinks Business.
Climate inconsistencies led to the dilemma, as warmer weather spurred an earlier than normal bud-burst. When vines sense warmer temperatures and begin to grow too soon, intermittent frosts damage the tender tissues. Months of hot, dry weather prior to harvest exacerbated the problem, and yields suffered as a result.
Originating from the Loire Valley and the Bordeaux region of France, Sauvignon Blanc has found a home in premier wine regions around the world in recent decades. After first planting the varietal in 1975, New Zealand farmers have dedicated thousands of acres to the green-skinned grape. By the late 90s, the region emerged as one of the leaders in the white wine business, and today approximately 65 percent of the wine grapes grown in the country are Sauvignon Blanc.
Favored for its refreshing crispness, Sauvignon Blanc has exploded in popularity. With sales surging 38 percent from 2019 to 2020 in the U.S., according to Fortune, demand is at an all-time high. Excitement about the herbaceous wine continues to grow, and with supply limited, it will be difficult to maintain inventory levels, and widespread shortages are to be expected.
As we enter the perfect time of year to pair a nice chilled Sauvignon Blanc with a spring or summer meal, it sounds like it’s time to stock up on a few bottles (or cases) before they’re all gone.