Fears for integrity of NZ bulk wine

Last updated 05:00 06/10/2012

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The nation's wine industry plans to continue its fight to protect the reputation of Kiwi wine that is exported in bulk.

Industry body New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has been pushing for regulations to protect the integrity of bulk wine exports that are bottled overseas.

But its campaign to implement controls has hit a brick wall, as the Primary Industries Ministry (MPI) has rejected its call for regulation.

Stuart Smith, who this month retires as NZW's chairman, said bulk wine could be altered overseas as there were no checks available to Kiwi producers. By comparison, the Australians were able to bring samples of the finally packaged wine back to Australia for testing, he said.

“We see that as a risk to New Zealand's reputation, however MPI haven't shared our concerns.”

“It's a huge risk for the wine industry and NZ Inc and, quite frankly, there are regulatory methods that would ensure that wouldn't occur,” Smith said.

The ministry said it had been discussing the matter with winegrowers since 2010 and would continue to work toward an "industry-owned" solution.

Bulk wine accounts for 35 per cent of New Zealand wine shipped abroad - almost 180 million litres.

Smith said those volumes would be lower this year due to a smaller 2012 vintage.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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