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New Zealand’s ‘golden days’ are over, says industry report

The golden days are over for New Zealand's wine producers and it must face the harsh reality of a tough global market, the industry's national organisation has told its members.

The country’s producers and growers still face ‘lower prices, tighter money and tougher markets’ as a consequence of the oversupply caused by the 2008 vintage and the global financial crisis, according to New Zealand Winegrowers’ Annual Report 2011.

It announced New Zealand’s total wine sales increased 11% to 221 million litres for the year to June 30 2011 while export value rose 5% to $1.1 billion. However, lower-priced bulk exports have grown faster than bottled exports.

The organisation claimed bulk wine exports are now a reality for the global wine trade and New Zealand was not immune. Stuart Smith chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, said, ‘We need to accept that there is no going back to the “golden days” before 2008.

There is also a fear that this year’s record 328,000 tonne harvest could cause New Zealand bulk wine exports to rise further.

Tim Burnside, associate director Deloitte New Zealand told Decanter.com: ‘Given the record harvest for vintage 2011, well above the record 2008 harvest, we consider it likely that similar issues will present themselves again. This could further tarnish New Zealand’s premium branding, especially with the renewed global economic concerns.’

NZ Winegrowers has ordered an independent strategic review to assess the shape of the country’s future in the global market to cope with changing conditions. It will be published in late October.

Smith explained, ‘The world has changed and we must change with it. We need to know where the industry should be going.’

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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