NEW ZEALAND: NZ Wine Institute strikes back at press reports

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The Wine Institute of New Zealand has denied the industry's international presence is under threat after press reports that certain members would withdraw due to lack of investment.

The Institute refuted claims in NZ newspaper, The Business Herald, which published last week, that its generic export promotion policy was in trouble.

"Contrary to media reports, the Wine Institute has received no indication from any winery that they will be withdrawing from the industry's programme of collective export promotions for 2000/2001," said the Institute's Anne-Marie McKenzie export marketing manager.

The Institute went on the explain it had "recently proposed the industry's largest ever export promotional programme with a planned investment of NZ$2m." McKenzie explained: "Wineries participate in the programme on a voluntary user-pays basis and while the cut-off date for sign up is not until August 4, a number of wineries have already responded favourably. Wineries were briefed at the start of June on the programme via a series of seminars and mailings and the response to date has been uniformly positive."

Despite being a tiny player in world terms (0.2% of global production), the last decade has seen the New Zealand wine industry deliver strong growth in international sales (from NZ$18m in 1990 to an anticipated NZ$160m in 2000). Of the Institute's funding, only 9% constituted generic promotional spend invested by the Institute on behalf of wineries during the past year and only 4% this year.

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