New Zealand is now the world's 10th largest wine exporter, despite producing only 1% of the world's wine, according to the latest figures.
The country’s exports hit a record NZ$1.18bn in the past financial year, up 8% on the previous year, with volume up 16%, New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Stuart Smith said in the industry body’s annual report
New Zealand is now the world’s 10th largest exporter by value and 11th by volume, Smith said, ‘despite accounting for less than 1% of global wine production’.
‘New Zealand is second only to France in terms of the average price at which its wines are sold. In terms of economic contribution to our nation’s economic prosperity, wine is now New Zealand’s 8th most valuable export sector,’ he added.
Australia remains New Zealand’s largest market, with exports of NZ$380m, and the US ‘continues to perform strongly’, with exports exceeding NZ$250m.
Exports to Canada and China had also increased, with exports to China increasing by 50% over the last year, as ‘brand owners capitalised on the opportunities opened by the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement.’
The UK, the report said, imports a greater volume of New Zealand wine than Australia but value is lower at NZ$284m due to the weak pound, as well as the large proportion of bulk wine exports.
Bulk wine has now become the norm for popular premium wine imports from all countries into the UK. Despite this, New Zealand has maintained its high average price in the UK (£6.33 per bottle).
As regards production, Smith said new vineyard plantings had been on hold for the past four years, and ‘increased tension between supply and demand would probably result in further grape price rises in the coming vintage.’
As a result, supply capacity would be constrained in the medium term, and any increase in production (above 2011 levels) would depend heavily on weather conditions and the discipline of the industry, he said.
Smith concluded that the New Zealand wine industry is well-positioned for the future; in order to protect its competitive advantage in high-priced premium wine exports, New Zealand Winegrowers would continue to focus on key areas.
These would include lobbying government to bring the Geographical Indications Act into force, control bulk wine exports, and also to become more proactive in its commitment to responsible drinking.
Written by Adam Lechmere