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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

The New Zealand wine industry faces a bloody big marketing job' if it is to sell the volumes that will come on stream from new plantings over the next five years, according to Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. We've been short of wine over the last two years, with companies like Montana and Nobilo allocating supply to key customers,' he told Harpers, but now we're going to have to be a hell of a lot more active.' At current planting levels, New Zealand will produce 200,000 tons of grapes in 2007, compared with 70,000 tons in 2001 and 120,000 in 2002. The plan is to sell more wine in Australia and the US and to reduce New Zealand's dependency on the UK market. By June 2006, we'd like to be selling 33% of our exports to the UK, compared with 50% now,' commented Gregan. The larger volumes are not an excuse for a price-war, Gregan added. If companies start cutting prices it will undermine everything the industry has achieved in the last ten years.'