NZ aims to be no.1 for lower alcoholBy Gabriel Stone
New Zealand is taking the lower alcohol wine movement to a generic level as its industry signs up to a major government backed research programme.
So far NZ$16.97 million (£8.5m) has been secured for the initiative, which aims to position New Zealand as “the world’s leading producer of high quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol ‘Lifestyle’ wines.”
The Primary Growth Partnership that has been set up to achieve this is jointly funded by the country’s wine industry and Ministry for Primary Industries, which is providing NZ$8.13m over a seven year period. The wine industry is due to provide the balance through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions.
Outlining details of the scheme, New Zealand Winegrowers’ CEO Philip Gregan explained: “This programme will capitalise on the domestic and international market demand for high quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol ‘Lifestyle’ wines by developing new, natural techniques for grapevine growth and wine production utilised across the New Zealand Wine Industry.
While a number of major producers around the world have launched lower alcohol, health-focused wines within the last couple of years, Gregan maintained: “Our point of difference will be producing premium wines that can be naturally produced using sustainable viticultural techniques and native yeasts – providing an important point of difference to existing processing methods.”
A total of 17 co-investors are supporting the programme, including many of New Zealand’s largest wine producers. Alongside the MPI and NZ Winegrowers, the following wineries have signed up to the scheme: Pask Winery, Constellation NZ, Forrest, Giesen Wines, Indevin Partners NZ, Lawsons Dry Hills, Lion, Moana Park Winery, Mount Riley Wines, Mud House Wine Group, Pernod Ricard NZ, Spy Valley Wines, Villa Maria Estate, Whitehaven Wine Company and Yealands Estate Wines.