The study hopes to capitalise on demand for "lifestyle" wines

The study hopes to capitalise on demand for "lifestyle" wines

New Zealand has launched a NZD17m (US$14m) programme to research lower-calorie, lower-alcohol wine.

The study, co-funded by the Government and wine makers including Pernod Ricard and Constellation's New Zealand units, aims to make the country the world's top producer of premium so-called “lifestyle” wines, organisers said yesterday (27 November). It will develop “new, natural techniques for grapevine growth and wine production” and capitalise on “demand for high quality, lower-calorie and lower-alcohol” wines, they said.

“Our point of difference will be producing premium wines that can be naturally produced using sustainable viticultural techniques and native yeasts - providing an important point of difference to existing processing methods,” said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, which is also funding the project.  

Co-investors in the programme are:

  • New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries
  • New Zealand Winegrowers
  • Pask Winery
  • Constellation NZ
  • Forrest 
  • Giesen Wines
  • Indevin Partners NZ
  • Lawsons Dry Hills
  • Lion
  • Moana Park Winery
  • Mount Riley Wines
  • Mud House Wine Group
  • Pernod Ricard NZ
  • Spy Valley Wines
  • Villa Maria Estate
  • Whitehaven Wine Company
  • Yealands Estate Wines

In figures released last month, New Zealand's wine export market rose in the 12 months to the end of June by 3% in value terms, to NZD1.2bn. Volumes, however, were down in the period by 5%.