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Record New Zealand harvest not a problem: Cox

New Zealand’s 2009 harvest may have broken records, but the industry doesn’t believe it’s facing an oversupply issue.

The yield of 285,000 tonne was in line with 2008, which was 39% up on 2007, and there were widespread concerns that further increased production would result in oversupply that would drag the value of New Zealand wine down.

But according to David Cox, the UK-based director of New Zealand Winegrowers, the increased volumes of New Zealand wine over the past two vintages has helped the country’s producers.

‘Exports are very healthy,’ he said. ‘Even the solid premium exports are up and not just the recent slightly lower priced bulk exports.’

The 2009 vintage could have been significantly larger than the 285,000 tonne harvested had it not been for extensive crop thinning to ensure volumes were kept to the minimum and that quality remained as high as possible, he said.

Cox said both NZ Winegrowers and the industry had been working together to maintain New Zealand’s high average retail sale price in the UK, which was still ‘a very healthy £6.44 up until May this year’.

Cox said NZ Winegrowers’ strategy was to maintain New Zealand wine’s strong price point, open up new distribution in existing markets, and find new markets.

‘We’re sending very strong messages to the wineries and growers to ensure they protect the premium image that they have done so well to develop,’ he said. ‘It is very important that we do not sell bulk wine to retailers and brokers who then just introduce damaging low-priced wines.’

Written by Daniel Pilkington in Auckland

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