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NZ looks to protect quality image as GI Act comes into play

Published:  27 July, 2017

New Zealand’s introduction of its new Geographical Indications Act at midnight on Wednesday 27 July has already prompted a flurry of applications from 18 of the country’s leading wine producing regions.

The proposed GIs, which will deliver a framework to protect quality and origin, are aimed both at boosting recognition of regional differences within New Zealand and ensuring that premium producers are better positioned to protect their regional identity.

“Our ‘Geographical Indications’ (GIs) - the names and places where our wines come from - are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them,” said Jeffrey Clarke, acting CEO, New Zealand Winegrowers.

“The registration of these GIs will provide a solid platform for New Zealand wine producers to promote our wines and regions in international markets and ensure investment in our regional identities are better protected.”

Wines carrying the GI designation must be sourced within the respective GI. However, the GIs in their current form will not insists on bottling in the region. 

With total New Zealand exports hitting NZ$1.66bn in the 12 months to June 2017 and ambitious plan to grow this figure to NZ$2bn by 2020, the country’s growers and producers are keen to ensure that they retain their current perception for quality wines and high average bottle price.

“I think this is a tremendous step for the New Zealand wine industry, it displays a sense of commitment and seriousness which will ultimately allow New Zealand to uphold the very strong premium reputation and identity it currently conveys,” said Melanie Brown of UK specialist importer The New Zealand Cellar.

“The future is extremely bright for New Zealand as we see the industry showcasing more exploration opportunities by looking at sub-regionality and it will also provide the foundation for consumers to better understand the wines of New Zealand.”

In the UK off-trade, of the main imported categories by country, New Zealand currently sits in 8th position by volume, but has delivered +14% volume growth and +12% value growth, while most significantly commanding the highest average per bottle price at £7.15 (WSTA Q2 report/Nielsen figs).

GIs for which applications have so far been filed include:

  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Matakana
  • Kumeu
  • Waiheke Island
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Wairarapa
  • Gladstone
  • Martinborough
  • Nelson
  • Marlborough
  • Canterbury
  • North Canterbury
  • Waipara Valley
  • Waitaki Valley North Otago
  • Central Otago