29th October, 2012 by Andy Young
New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, has announced the election of a new chair and deputy chair.
Steve Green, proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery is the new chair and John Clarke, a Gisborne grapegrower, is the new deputy chair.
Green, who has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994, replaces Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role.
One of Green’s first jobs might be to help his organisation find a new European marketing manager as David Cox, who left in the sumer, has still not been replaced. Green has previously served as chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as deputy chair.
He said: “Being elected to the chair of New Zealand Winegrowers by my industry peers and colleagues is a huge honour. I am succeeding Stuart Smith who was a tireless advocate for the industry and was held in wide respect by all stakeholders. Stuart has left the Board and New Zealand Winegrowers in a very strong position.
“The sector has been through tough times in the last few years, but we are definitely seeing signs of improvement. Our international reputation remains strong and this is a good base from which to begin the next phase of our evolution.”
New deputy chair Clarke has over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry and has previously served as the chair of the Gisborne winegrowers.
Green added: “I look forward to working with deputy chair John Clarke, the Board as a whole, and our management team led by CEO Philip Gregan to further the interests of our industry. The 2011 Strategic Review of the sector has provided a sound base from which to work and our focus is on delivering the outcomes agreed in response to the Review.”
The news comes as the New Zealand Winegrowers announced plans to open an office in Hong Kong in order to maximise its presence in Asia.
Chief executive Gregan said: “Opening our Hong Kong office demonstrates a long-term commitment by the industry to this increasingly important region for New Zealand’s premium wine exports. We expect New Zealand wine sales into Asia to exceed NZ$100m for June Year End 2013, up from less than NZ$20m as recently as 2005.”
At present New Zealand represents less than 2% of the imported wine market in China.