WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s wine exports have reached a record high, as the country targets $2bn of wine exports by 2020. The first Annual Report by the New Zealand Winegrowers Incorporated, has highlighted the country’s strong performance in the US, following two decades of wine export growth. The report states: “New Zealand wine continues to perform strongly on the global stage. We have now recorded over two decades of uninterrupted value growth. As a result, New Zealand wine now stands as our nation’s fifth largest export good.
“Over those two decades, the industry has achieved average annual export growth of 17 per cent a year. “With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve $2bn of exports by around 2020. Maintaining focus on protecting and enhancing the reputation of New Zealand wine as a distinctive, quality product is critical to achieving this goal.” Exports of NZ Wine to the US passed $500m for the first time last year, making it the third most valuable wine import into the country, behind France and Italy. Overall wine exports for the year grew by six per cent, to reach $1.66bn. Looking at the year ahead and the 2017 vintage, the report highlighted some of the struggles the country’s winemakers have faced. “Given the strong export demand, wineries had been looking forward to a larger harvest this year,” the report said.
“Despite a generally excellent summer, autumn weather in some parts of the country made for challenging harvesting decisions. As a result, in some regions more fruit was left in the vineyard, and the total harvest was 396,000 tonnes, down 9 per cent on 2016. “Quality, however, remained high, with wineries confident the 2017 vintage wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines. With the smaller vintage, export volume growth is likely to be more muted in the year ahead.” A number of wineries have spoken about the challenges they faced with this year’s vintage and also some of the exciting new products that will be coming to Australia, with a big focus on rosé. For more on what’s happening with New Zealand’s wine, take a look at the New Zealand Wine Report in the September issue of National Liquor News.