Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Hawke's Bay Winegrowers launch relief fundraiser

Relief is on its way to Hawke's Bay today with the launch of a Cyclone Gabrielle fundraiser by Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Charitable Trust, which will match donations of $30,000, but is encouraging all donations, no matter how small.

The cyclone has devastated many vineyards and fruit orchards, submerging vines and trees, which is likely to render many unusable in future, especially with further heavy rain forecasts. It is still too early to put a figure on the exact amount of devastation caused, however, say winemakers spoken to for this story. Some of those whose vines have survived may struggle to get their grapes to wineries, due to loss of roading, but many have made it through intact.

The leading grape varieties in Hawke's Bay are Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, which each had almost equal billing in terms of vineyard area occupied, prior to the cyclone, that is. The Bay is the second biggest wine region in New Zealand and responsible for a significant amount of the country's wine exports, much of which is already in the bottle but the looming vintage 2023 is set to be hit significantly as a result of the cyclone. 

Hawke's Bay Winegrowers is still assessing the full extent of the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle and due to a high number of requests from those wanting to contribute financially, the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Charitable Trust has set up a Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund.

The relief fund launches as rain returns to Bay.

Give to the Trust here:

Pictured below:  Vineyards submerged and apples everywhere but not fit to eat