In 1988, Cyclone Bola caused extensive damage to the North Island in the regions of Gisborne and Northland. The destruction caused by both cyclones was similar in many respects: flooding, silt deposition in vineyards around harvest time, damage to the trellis system, vines falling over, or, in extreme cases, vineyards completely destroyed. Some remediation and recovery approaches applied with Bola are relevant to the damage experienced by Cyclone Gabrielle.
The following fact sheet addresses typical vineyard issues associated with the storm damage along with suggested solutions, gathered from growers who dealt with Cyclone Bola in 1988. They are not prescriptive but should be adapted to specific situations given that the extent of the damage may vary within a single vineyard block and across different vineyards within the same area. It should be noted that prior to Bola, the season was normal, this is in comparison to Gabrielle where we were already experiencing high rainfall, and therefore higher soil moisture levels prior to the cyclone. It is unknown what impact this will have on the vines.
If you are a wine business and need assistance, please reach out to the community – there are experienced growers who can provide assistance – contact email@example.com and they will be able to put you in contact with someone who has been in this situation before. Be sure to visit NZ Winegrowers’ flood response page, which is regularly updated with relevant resources, including information on conducting harvest and vintage following the cyclone.