• $930m
    Contribution to GDP by the Grape Growing and Wine Production industry in 2022
  • $1.9bn
    Export revenue for year ending June 2022
  • 11,390
    Individuals worked in the Grapes and Wine industries across 2020
  • 36%
    Of all wine products are exported to the United States as at June 2022


In 1819, 25 September marked a momentous day in the Aotearoa wine industry, with the planting of a vine by missionary Samuel Marsden in the rich soil beside the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. At the time, Marsden prophesied "New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast importance in this part of the globe”. Prophetic indeed, given that the industry would go on to gain an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines, and grow to become a $1.9 billion export earner in 2022. 

The industry is represented by a national body, New Zealand Wine, which has 744 member wineries made up of over 700 individual growers covering an area of around 41,600 hectares and extending from subtropical Northland down to Central Otago, home to the world’s southernmost vineyards. In 2022, these wineries produced 532,000 tonnes of grapes. By far the largest grape growing region is Marlborough, accounting for 73% of New Zealand Wine member growers, with Sauvignon Blanc making up most of the region’s vines. In 2020, we counted 11,390 people in the workforce, with approximately 24% of employees on work and work holiday visas. 

There are two distinct seasonal peaks for labour – pruning in winter and the harvest or vintage in late summer to early autumn. With a highly constrained labour market, a closed border for much of 2020 and 2021, and with unemployment at a historically low rate, together with a situation where there is limited technology available to replace this workforce, securing skilled and motivated people is a key concern for growers and wineries. 

2024 Investment Advice

Muka Tangata provides advice to TEC on investment in vocational education to influence funding decisions that considers industry needs, to help match skills and workforce demands with supply.

Learn more


We highlight the current key priorities and opportunities for each industry, and links back to the supporting evidence base to show why they have been selected as a priority. These opportunities will be updated on an ongoing basis as our understanding of the industry evolves and deepens.

This is our plan to address the opportunities that arose from our engagement, research and analysis. It includes real actions that we are committed to delivering – these are both industry specific and cross-cutting actions across all industries in the food and fibre sector where common themes emerged.

It includes broader areas or dependencies where external parties will need to provide input into solutions with Muka Tangata support; for example, advocacy, engagement, collaboration, and provision of specific expertise or data. We will work in collaboration with those who will need to take the lead in this area. This section will test potential solutions that we’re working on and seek feedback and input into them.