16th April 2020

Yealands’ Michael Wentworth talks about harvest under lockdown and their new Sustainability Fund.

Workers harvesting grapes at a Marlborough vineyard have chosen to spend time away from their family during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure they are not spreading the virus.

The level 4 lockdown was announced at the same time as the wine harvest around the country. Primary industries and those who supply farmers and growers have been deemed an essential service under the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. However, they must follow strict health and safety protocols to avoid the spread of the virus.

General manager of external relations and sustainability at Yealands Wines, Michael Wentworth said the company was relieved to be able to continue the harvest. "We are in the privileged position that we are able to keep on harvesting, which we are very grateful for, because clearly it is a significant part of what we do," said Wentworth. He said the harvest was slower than usual due to the extra precautions being taken to stop any spread of the virus.

"We have a small and focused team in the winery at the moment, working through the harvest, and so forth and they have given up the time with their family to make that happen so we are just charging through the harvest as best we can at the moment." Workers had also chosen to spend the lockdown living on the vineyard while they work. "We have brought up campervans and things like that from Christchurch so we have a mini village out there, and the team have chosen to move away from their families again to reduce risk and we are extremely grateful for the team for soldiering on in these times." Wentworth said if the industry had not been able to continue with the harvest, it would have had serious consequences.

"The impact of not being able to harvest would have had many years' impact on the industry so we are very fortunate to be in the position and doing our best to make sure we are not contributing to the problem going forward."

Article written by Angie Skerrett and taken from NewsHub website.

To listen to the interview please follow the link here

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