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New Zealand Wine – A Success


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The Economist has an article lauding the success of New Zealand Wine.

The article states:-

BUSINESS is brisk at the Highfield Estate vineyard in Marlborough, with packed restaurant tables and a busy tasting station. This is normal for a weekend, says Naomi Galvin, the sales manager. The happy scene reflects the broader health of New Zealand’s wine industry, which had a bumper year in 2007. Wine overtook wool exports in value for the first time, and it is now the country’s 12th most valuable export, worth NZ$760m ($610m), up from NZ$94m in 1997. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZWG), a national trade body, boasts that the industry sold 1 billion glasses of wine in nearly 100 countries. Exports to Australia are buoyant, and New Zealand accounts for over 10% of wines sold in Britain for more than £5 ($10). Interest in America is picking up too, judging by a recent showcase held in Phoenix, Arizona. Across the board, demand exceeds supply.

The article discusses some of the challenges facing the industry and notes the success of Pinot Noir.

Adam thinks this is great. He was somewhat concerned though by the final paragraph:-

The industry hopes to double exports between 2010 and 2015, but it faces a few obstacles. The appreciation of the New Zealand dollar means winemakers must cut prices to remain competitive. It is not easy for small producers to find distributors in new markets such as America, says Kaar Field of Kemblefield Estate Winery, in Hawkes Bay. Another problem is a shortage of labour. Mr Smith says that with 40,000 locals and 20,000 hectares of vineyards, grape growers and vineyard owners in Marlborough, the biggest wine region, need 3,000 people to prune their vines annually. Vineyards rely on migrants from the Pacific Islands of Vanuatu and Tonga, but there are not always enough. For the time being, though, New Zealand’s wine is flowing nicely.

This highlights the following:-

  • wine faces a competitive marketplace and premium wines like ours, can be sourced elsewhere
  • exporters cannot maintain a long-term viable and sustainable industry without a lower Kiwi dollar
  • the failure of the Government’s measures on seasonal labour is a cause for concern

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