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EU grants NZ organic wine parity

A new organic wine agreement with the EU means New Zealand’s organic wine certifications will soon be recognised in Europe.

Organic bodies in New Zealand such as BioGro have been working on the agreement for two years.

BioGro, New Zealand’s main organic certifier, has announced the ratification of New Zealand’s equivalency agreement with the European Commission for organic wine.

The agreement is the result of two years of European lobbying by BioGro, Organic Winegrowers New Zealand and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.

Under the agreement, the European Commission has agreed that NZ organic winegrowing standards will be equivalent to those of Europe.

Anna Flowerday, OWNZ member and co-owner of Te Whare Ra Wines, said: “This is great for BioGro, Organic Winegrowers and all NZ wine exporters. It makes exporting into the EU a lot easier, less complicated and more certain. This is important especially as Europe is a huge market for us.”

Anna Flowerday said the agreement will make exporting to the UK much easier.

Effective from mid 2015, exported wine to the EU can be labeled as “organic wine” and New Zealand certification bodies including BioGro can confirm all production and post-production activities are recognised within the EU.

OWNZ chairman Jonathan Hamlet said a common set of organic standards would  mean a lot less red tape and lower compliance costs in future in getting organic wine into EU markets.

“The implications are fantastic in terms of streamlining our ability to export into the EU,” said Hamlet.

“In the past, we’ve actually had to apply for a completely separate organic importing license which has been quite market specific, which has been quite an additional cost and a lot of paperwork to get through to actually export to those markets,” he said.

“So now, through a big effort with MPI and New Zealand Winegrowers, we have finally reached a point where we have the ability to export a lot more easily to the EU.”

The new arrangement will take full effect in July next year and is expected to result in an increase in New Zealand’s organic wine exports already estimated to be worth NZ$44 million (£21.6m) annually.

The agreement will mean New Zealand’s organic wines will be recognised in Europe.

The agreement will help to ensure organic growers have continued access to the European market and it will also have great commercial benefits for the industry, as well as saving time and money for NZ wine exporters.

The announcement follows record export figures and predictions New Zealand wine exports will hit NZ$2 billion (£1b) by the end of the decade.

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