Coronavirus came at the most crucial time of the year in New Zealand. This is the time when harvest is in full swing lockdown could adversely affect the flourishing wine industry of the country. Tricity Scoop spoke to Aman Chowfin, an Indian who is located in Blenheim, a town on New Zealand’s South Island on how machine harvesting worked 24×7 to cope with the peak season.
When asked how it was ensured that the industry did not suffer, Aman says, “Harvest is the culmination of the whole year’s efforts to grow the best grapes in spite of all the odds that the season, nature and conditions throw at you. The industry was classified as an essential business, and we had to operate under strict protocols to minimise risk of spread and ensure health and safety of our staff.”
“The virus could not have come at a more crucial time, putting at risk harvesting the grapes which are just once a year crop. They have to be harvested at the right time and within a tight time frame otherwise you lose the quality of the grapes, thereby losing the true value of the grapes to make good wines”, he adds.
On how it was ensured to comply with safety measures Aman says, “New protocols and procedures had to be put in place like one had to maintain a daily diary of our movements and noting of every place we went and all equipment were sanitised, besides wearing gloves and social distancing. When going back home, we sanitised our hands, and put our work clothes straight for washing and had a bath, to keep everyone at home safe. All communication was done by hand set radios, phones and emails. The Internet was the nerve centre for all operations.
In the current scenario, Aman says, “The industry is pushing on, within the same protocols and procedures. All the crucial and timely winter works have started, to keep things moving, to keep the industry functioning. Great weather made the window of harvesting less stressful and the quality of grapes were excellent, and there will be amazing wines that will be produced, which will be a vintage to remember.”