In its annual market report published today New Zealand Winegrowers hailed a bountiful 2013 vintage and said 2013-14 was a “highly successful” year for sales.
Chairman Steve Green said: “Wineries took full advantage of the glorious 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012. The end result was a 10% increase in both export volume and value as overseas sales earned a record £517 million.”
The UK is New Zealand’s third largest export market for wine, behind Australia and the US, with sales in the UK market worth £160 million to Kiwi winemakers in the past year (New Zealand export figures to end of June 2014).
When you factor in taxes and retailer margins, New Zealand wine is a £305 million category in the UK off-trade, down 5% in the past year (Niesen, year to April 26) and in the on-trade it is worth £88 million, down 31% in the past year (CGA, year to April 19).
Green said: “North America and northern Europe are where the fastest growth is happening. USA experienced growth of 16% in the past 12 months and the hub markets of the Netherlands and Germany were up 33% and 52% respectively. China and Hong Kong, on the other hand, have slowed considerably but the potential in these markets is undiminished.”
In total 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2014.
“The 2014 harvest may seem like a drop in the ocean compared to major producers, but it was a record for New Zealand and signals the drive for export growth in the year ahead,” said Green.
Green said New Zealand will never be a major producer but added: “A premium reputation is the foundation of New Zealand wine’s iconic status. It is the reason that consumers are willing to pay more on average for New Zealand wine than for almost any other country’s wine.
“Without those willing consumers, wine production in New Zealand is not an economic proposition.
“The reputation of the New Zealand wine industry is inextricably bound to the reputation of our country as a whole. Benefits and risks to the good name of New Zealand are benefits and risks to the good name of New Zealand wine.
“As wine moves closer to becoming a £1 billion top-5 New Zealand export industry, the need to support its reputation with increased investment and stronger protections becomes ever more pressing.
“Ultimately, every stakeholder in the industry shares an interest in and a responsibility for the premium reputation of New Zealand wine.
“It is the factor that unites growers, regions, boutique operations and large corporates under a single banner. It is what makes us all winegrowers.”