New Zealand Winegrowers, recently established by the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute to promote the interests of the grape and wine industry, has announced the appointments of its chair, deputy chair and CEO.

The chair of New Zealand Winegrowers is Peter Hubscher MNZM, managing director of Montana Wines Ltd and current chair of the Wine Institute.

Commenting on his election Hubscher, who joined the wine industry in 1965 and has worked for Montana since 1973, said: “Being elected to the chair of New Zealand Winegrowers by my industry peers and colleagues is one of the highlights of my career in the wine industry. The formation of New Zealand Winegrowers is a tremendous opportunity to use the collective strength of all grape growers and winemakers to build an even more successful New Zealand wine industry. I am looking forward to working with my board colleagues to achieve this goal.”

The deputy chair of New Zealand Winegrowers is Willie Crosse, a grape grower from Marlborough and current President of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council. Crosse commenced grape growing in 1987 and now farms 32 hectares of vineyard in the Wairau Valley.

In response to his election Mr Crosse said: “Formation of New Zealand Winegrowers has been a goal grape growers have worked to achieve for a number of years. As Deputy Chair I will seek to further develop the excellent relationships between grape growers and wineries that are a cornerstone of the industry#;s success as a producer of quality grapes and wine.”

New Zealand Winegrowers commenced operations on 4 March 2002 following agreement from the Wine Institute and the Grape Growers Council on the benefits of having a single, unified industry organisation. New Zealand Winegrowers is projecting a vintage of 120,000 tonnes in the current year (70% larger than 2001) and expects vintages of circa 200,000 tonnes in the next five years. In terms of exports, New Zealand Winegrowers#; projections suggest exports will grow from current levels of $230 million to over $730 million in 2006, taking total sales to in excess of $1 billion.

The board also moved to appoint a Chief Executive Officer at it#;s meeting. Appointed to the role is Philip Gregan, the current CEO of the Wine Institute. Gregan joined the Wine Institute in 1983 and has been CEO since 1990.

Commenting on his appointment Gregan said: “The wine industry has some very bullish growth projections for the next five years, and a key role for New Zealand Winegrowers will be to lead and assist industry growth strategies. It will be a great challenge to represent and serve all New Zealand#;s 600 grape growers and 400 wineries at a time when there is so much opportunity in our key international markets.”