Vineyards set to expand

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 08:00 21/11/2012

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Marlborough vineyards are set to grow by 2 per cent in the next three years, according to a new national industry survey.

The growth was in line with the average national increase, and showed that "over-exuberant" planting in 2008 and 2009 had levelled off, NZ Winegrowers said.

The Vineyard Register Report was produced this week by NZ Winegrowers, a national organisation of grapegrowers and winemakers. It showed that sauvignon blanc was by far the most common varietal planted in Marlborough, making up more than three-quarters of all vineyard space in the region.

Pinot noir came in second with 10 per cent, chardonnay had 5 per cent, and pinot gris had 4 per cent.

NZ Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said pinot gris was becoming a more popular varietal with consumers in New Zealand and overseas.

The total number of vineyards in New Zealand had stabilised after some "over-exuberant" planting in 2008 and 2009, he said.

"The interesting thing is that [the report] shows stability in the production area for 2015.

"There has been talk of new plantings, but we will see if there is when the new register comes out next year."

According to the report, Marlborough continues to dominate sauvignon blanc production, with the region having nearly 90 per cent of all sauvignon blanc vines in New Zealand.

Marlborough has more than 60 per cent of all New Zealand grapevines, with Hawke's Bay second on 14 per cent, and Otago edging out Gisborne for third place on 5 per cent.

Marlborough also has the most large-scale vineyards, with just under three-quarters of New Zealand vineyards of 50 hectares and more based here.

Mr Gregan said the register was an accurate snapshot of the state of the industry, as all New Zealand grapegrowers and winemakers were part of the group, and 99 per cent of them provided information.

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- The Marlborough Express

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