NZ confident of draining surplus

NZ confident of draining surplus

New Zealand's wine trade body has said it is confident of draining the country's wine surplus after figures showed this year's harvest fell by 7% on 2009.

Growers harvested 266,000 tonnes of grapes in 2010, 19,000 less than in 2009, New Zealand Winegrowers said today (17 June).

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZWG) has spent the last year stressing the importance of producing fewer grapes in 2010 to help the industry recover from a surplus that has threatened its premium positioning in key export markets.

"The smaller vintage will assist in the re-balancing and recovery of the sector over the next year or so," said the CEO of NZWG, Philip Gregan.

Most of the major wine regions, including Marlborough, reported lower grape harvests in 2010, alhough Central Otago's harvest was level with the previous year and more grapes were harvested in Waipara, Canterbury and Northland.

Bumper harvests in both 2008 and 2009 has driven a surge in exports of cheap, bulk wine from New Zealand, which has jeopardised the country's image for quality.

“Managing supply to export markets continues to be a key priority for growers and wineries, to ensure the premium positioning of New Zealand wine is protected,” said Gregan.
According to Rabobank figures released in April, New Zealand wine exports grew by 34% in volume in 2009, compared to a 13% rise in value.

For more comments from Gregan, click here. For more on New Zealand's export strategy, click here.