Grape-growing stages a recovery
The pendulum for grapes is swinging from oversupply to undersupply and the outlook for Marlborough is rosy, wine industry leaders say.
Although there will be further pain for growers until the next vintage, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.
Saint Clair Family Estate owner Neal Ibbotson said he had noticed the first signs of recovery since the glut of grapes that caused the bulk wine price to drop after the bumper harvest of 2008.
"We are starting to see the first signs of recovery already, the first being the increase of the bulk wine price and the second are all the advertisements starting to appear from wineries looking for grapes in 2013," Ibbotson said.
"We haven't seen those advertisements since the oversupply of 2008."
Before 2008, the average price of bulk wine was $6.50 a litre. Following the 2008 harvest, the price fell to under $2 a litre and recovered to $3 a litre last year.
"We are seeing a huge improvement already in the price of bulk wine, which is currently sitting around $4.50 per litre," he said. "The pendulum is swinging from oversupply to undersupply. Saint Clair is lifting prices in some markets, where previously we've had to discount."
New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Stuart Smith said there were other subtle signs the industry was improving. The bulk wine import and export figures for May showed imports of bulk wine increased slightly to cover the shortfall of cheap wine available within the country.
"Ironically, we saw a slight move upwards of bulk wine imported into the New Zealand markets and the export wine figures for May stopped below average, signalling wineries are running out of their supply of wine," Smith said.
One Marlborough winery has already set its price for next year's vintage 30 per cent higher than for this year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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