New Zealand's first 500ml bottles of wines have been launched, drawing praise from health campaigners. 

Mission Estate, which claims to be the country's oldest winery, has released two wines in the smaller format - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Syrah 2011. The winery's CEO, Peter Holley, said the new size, as opposed to the standard 750ml, was "created in response to the lifestyles of many of our customers". 

He added: "It’s ideal for a couple who like to enjoy quality wine with their meal at home, without having any wastage." 

The wines are retailing for a RRP of NZD9.99 (US$8) to NZD12.99 (US$10.40).  

The move has been praised by New Zealand's health community. Dr Andrew Hearn, the Health Promotion Agency's research, policy and advice general manager, said the new format could "stop people thinking: `Well, we may as well finish off the bottle`, and drink more than intended", stuff.co.nz reported

Professor Doug Sellman, director of the National Addiction Centre at the University of Otago in Christchurch, said the smaller bottle looked "like a good innovation by the industry, particularly if marketed as suitable for two over a special dinner", according to the website.