Winemakers work together to boost exports

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014

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Instead of trying to make an individual name on the global wine scene, 12 Kiwi winemakers have joined forces to promote their wine internationally.

The group is called The Family of Twelve as members are family businesses. They cover the country from Auckland to Otago, and range in size and capacity from large to boutique.

Chairman William Hoare presented the group's concept at exporters' conference Global Connections 2014 yesterday in Christchurch.

He said the group allowed competitors to collaborate and collectively spark an interest in New Zealand wine overseas.

The export-targeted group, founded in 2005, covers marketing and brand building for its members, but each winery is then responsible for its own sales.

"We have 700 wine labels in New Zealand and only 4.5 million people. So we have to export," Hoare said.

Figures from New Zealand Winegrowers' 2013 annual report, show wine is the country's eight biggest goods export. Exports to 80 countries raked in $1.2 billion in 2013.

The top three countries for wine exports are Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Hoare said members often travelled to wine events throughout the world and attracted the industry and the media's attention.

Each winery member brought its own export network to the group and sold a different type of wine.

"People in the wine export industry are so busy and so sought after that it's quite hard to get introduced to the right person. It's easier when part of a group."

Hoare said some of the wineries involved were too small to make each trip, in which case another "family" member would represent their wines.

"It's a great way to export."

Although the aim of the group had been to increase exposure in export markets, they had found other ways to learn from each other, he said.

The group also organises for international wine industry professionals to come visit the member's wineries.

Key influential people receive a guided tour with winemakers in several regions of New Zealand.

The group comprises Kumeu River and Villa Maria (Auckland), The Millton Vineyard (Gisborne), Craggy Range (Hawkes Bay), Palliser Estate and Ata Rangi (Martinborough), Fromm Winery, Nautilus and Lawsons Dry Hills (Marlborough), Neudorf Vineyards (Nelson), Pegasus Bay (Waipara) and Felton Road (Central Otago).

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