Wine industry forecasts growth in plantings
The New Zealand wine industry is in expansion mode, with plantings expected to rise by 2018 to 37,542 hectares, up from the current 35,463 ha.
Wine New Zealand chief executive Philip Gregan said the forecasts in the just released Vineyard Register Report 2015-18 were a minimum, and he expected the actual plantings to be above predictions.
"We know there have been some land purchases [for vineyards] that are not included in this data, so the numbers will lift further," Gregan said.
"The industry is expanding, reflecting the demand for our products in international markets."
The largest producing area is Marlborough which will have 25,119 ha in vines by 2018, followed by Hawke's Bay (4938 ha), Otago (1967 ha), Gisborne (1447 ha), Waipara (1239 ha), Wellington/Wairarapa (1026 ha) and Auckland (351 ha).
Marlborough's share of the national producing area is 66.4 per cent.
Gregan said he was not concerned about the reliance on Marlborough, and especially sauvignon blanc.
"Other areas are increasing as well. If everywhere else was going backwards, I think it would be a concern but that's not the case."
Meanwhile, United States wine news website Shanken News Daily has reported that three New Zealand labels were in the top 10 of the above-$10 premium wine category in the US market.
Kim Crawford came in second, followed by Oyster Bay at 7th and Nobilo at 8th.
Marketed by parent company Constellation Brands, Kim Crawford total sales into the US are almost 1 million cases.
Constellation senior vice-president for sales and marketing Rob Sinclair said the US was the world's biggest wine market, but New Zealand accounted for only 2 per cent of consumption.
"People fall in love with New Zealand wines with sauvignon blanc but we are getting good growth with pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay.
"The good thing about the US is the high price point for our wines," Sinclair said.
The Vineyard Report shows that sauvignon blanc will continue to dominate plantings, rising from 20,497 ha in 2015 to 21,901 ha in 2018.
The next largest white wine plantings by 2018 will be chardonnay (3303 ha) followed by pinot gris (2579 ha). At 765 ha riesling remains constant, but plantings of gewurztraminer and viognier are tipped to fall slightly.
Pinot noir leads the red wine sector, with a projected 5768 ha of plantings by 2018, followed by merlot (1327 ha), syrah (450 ha) and cabernet sauvignon (280 ha).
By region, the largest average vineyard size is found in Marlborough at 1021 ha, in front of Hawke's Bay (254 ha), Otago (216 ha) and Wellington/Wairarapa (118 ha).