New Zealand Winegrowers picks positives out of tough year

New Zealand Winegrowers picks positives out of tough year

New Zealand's wine surplus oveshadowed a 5% rise in exports by value for the year to the end of June, official figures show.

Exports increased by 5% on the previous year to reach NZD1.04bn (US$736m), trade body New Zealand Winegrowers said today (23 August). However, the average value of bottled wine exports fell by 11% as a wine surplus in the country continued to put pressure on pricing.

New Zealand Winegrowers said the sector made a "critically important step" in rebalancing supply and demand by reducing the 2010 grape harvest haul by 7% on 2009.

However, the surplus has caused significant problems for several companies over the past year. "The sheer volume of surplus bulk wine sales, currently running at 28% of New Zealand’s total export sales volume, is testing the financial sustainability of the NZ wine industry," said the chairman of New Zealand Wine Co, Alton Jamieson, earlier this year.

"Times are tough in the industry and we must be very focused if we are to continue the progress of the past year," said Stuart Smith, chair of NZWinegrowers. "For the next two years that focus must remain on rebalancing and recovery. From there, future growth must target enhanced value ahead of production capacity,” said Smith.

The trade body highlighted some positives from the past year, including Pinot Noir exports reaching NZD100m for the first time, strong export growth into Asian markets and packaged wine exports up by 14%.

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