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NZ wine goes from surplus to squeeze

New Zealand's wineries are braced for tight supplies after the 2012 vintage came in almost a fifth smaller than last year.

The country’s rollercoaster harvest ride continues with the 2012 wine grape haul coming in at 269,000 tonnes, 18% down on the record harvest of 2011. Pinot Noir was down 25% with Sauvignon Blanc down 19%, show figures from trade body New Zealand Winegrowers.

With demand for New Zealand wines rising, concerns about a surplus in recent years have given way to talk of a supply squeeze.

‘The 2012 vintage is very similar in size to 2010, but given sales growth in the past two years, the reduced crop will introduce a new tension to the sectors’ supply demand balance,’ said NZ Winegrowers’ CEO, Phil Gregan.

David Cox, NZ Winegrowers’ Europe director, told Decanter.com that it’s ‘certainly disappointing’ to see Sauvignon Blanc coming in lower after cutting the previous oversupply. But, if pushed, he knows which side of the line he’d rather be.

‘I think this year it will allow us to focus on building profitable growth and returning value and so I do predict that the incidence, and historic need, to discount some of our Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc will disappear and that has to be a good thing,’ Cox said.

In terms of quality, the warm days and dry nights of April proved a critical turning point, following a cool spring and early summer. ‘By all accounts the 2012 vintage has produced another stunning vintage quality-wise,’ Cox said.

Written by Chris Mercer

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