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Published:  23 July, 2008

New Zealand's vineyard area will increase by a third over the next five years, but there is no danger of a wine glut, claimed Cable Bay Vineyards winemaker Neill Culley, speaking at a seminar organised by Stratford's Wine Agencies following the New Zealand New Release Whites Tasting. New Zealand's vineyard area is predicted to expand from its current level of 18,111 hetares (ha) to 24,000ha by 2009, but there is a market for the increased volume, said Culley. Exports of New Zealand wine to the UK are up 55%, and exports to Australia and Germany have jumped even further, at 132% and 272% respectively (MAT July-September 2004). In 2004, wine production more than doubled (from 76,400 tons in 2003 to 166,000 tons in 2004), but total export figures for the first quarter of the New Zealand financial year (July to September 2004) show that the industry is on course to meet its increased annual export target of 51,000 million litres in 2004/5, he explained. There is a perception that there is a glut of wine and that is quite wrong. 2004 exports already show that with an increased supply of wine, we have been able to put more wine into the market. We are spreading the market for New Zealand wine,' said Culley. He added that there is an opportunity for New Zealand wines in the multiple grocers but the generic objective should be to broaden the range of wines on offer and get involved with initiatives such as profiling stores based on customer target groups. The average price per bottle for New Zealand wine is still the highest in the UK, at 6.15, and Culley warned against the assumption that prices would drop as export volumes increase. It is important to maintain New Zealand's position as a luxury' wine brand, he said.