The New Zealand wine industry could lose its premium reputation if government does not support its marketing efforts.

The premium position of New Zealand’s industry is ‘as fragile as Pinot Noir’, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts told this week’s Pinot Noir 2010 conference

He called on winemakers to lobby the national government to provide funding for global marketing, or risk losing their position on the world stage.

‘It is vital you get the New Zealand government to help because as individuals you have not got a prayer.

‘Otherwise, others like the USA, Argentina, Chile and South Africa will jump in. You need to secure your premium position,’ Roberts said.

New Zealand producers currently fund the wine industry’s marketing efforts but Roberts told the industry, ‘You should place pressure on the government and lobby very hard.’

New Zealand Winegrowers marketing director Chris Yorke told they were putting together an application for government funding.

‘Roberts said we have to get out there and sell the wine. There’s a strong case for the country to support the wine industry in our marketing efforts and we are looking to put a case together,’ he said.

New Zealand Winegrowers is funded by producer levies and pay-as-you-go promotions totaling NZ$9 million (£4m). Government funding could help promote New Zealand wines in export markets.

Sam Lewis, director of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s food and beverage taskforce said the government was investing NZ$19m in the wine industry over four years.

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Written by Rebecca Gibb