New Zealand's commercial wine grape growers have backed the continuation of a levy on wine grapes.
 
In the vote today (16 December) continuation of the levy was supported by 86% of grower voters.

The levy currently collects just under NZ$2m (US$1.4m) per annum and funds industry good activities conducted by the New Zealand Grape Growers Council through New Zealand Winegrowers.

This is the third vote to support the grape levy, which has been in place since 1993.
 
Stuart Smith, president of New Zealand Grape Growers Council and chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, said he is delighted with the result.

"To garner this level of support from growers in such tough economic times is a very pleasing result. The strong backing from growers means we will be able to continue to service their needs particularly in areas such as research, sustainability and information provision," he said.
 
New Zealand wineries will vote in 2010 on the continuation of the wine levy, which funds their industry initiatives.

Earlier this month, New Zealand Winegrowers, the trade body, welcomed new regulations to relax the rules on exporting wines above 15% abv to the EU.