22nd August, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Demand for New Zealand wines remains strong is the message from the New Zealand Winegrowers’ Annual Report, with value outpacing volume.
Chairman of the association, Steve Green, said the results showed that “consumers continue to respond to the vibrant, distinctive qualities of New Zealand wine.”
Recent small harvests have also meant winemakers have had to change their approach.
Green continued: “The small 2012 grape crop meant wine was in short supply and wineries took the opportunity to improve their positioning in the market. The end result was a 3% increase in the export value to a record $1.21 billion but 5% lower export volume.”
The rise in value has been a long-term trend, with a 22% increase in export value since 2009.
Exports to the US increased 13% to NZ$284m, making it the second largest market behind Australia, while those to Canada rose 10% to NZ$78m.
Australian and UK shipments fell 2% in value over the course of last year but the report made it clear that it expected those countries to “bounce back” when the larger 2013 vintage became available and that they remained “priority destinations” for New Zealand wine.
New Zealand’s wine exports are the country’s number one horticultural export, the eighth biggest export product overall and worth NZ$1.2 billion.
The 2013 harvest, as previously reported, was of record size – some 345 tonnes, 28% up on 2012 and 5% up on 2011.
While stressing that the bumper crop and new waves of plantings do not signal a return to the days of the wine glut in 2008, Green added that it had brought on a new wave of confidence among growers.
“Winemakers have welcomed the more normal 2013 harvest as the improved supply will facilitate renewed export growth in the year ahead.
“Provided the wine industry learns from the struggles of the past, we can look to the future with confidence.”