Wine returns a 'great result'
The value of New Zealand wine exports reached another record high in the year ending June.
The New Zealand Winegrowers' annual report 2013 showed the value of exports was up 3 per cent to $1.21 billion, compared with the year ending June 2012.
More than 169 million litres of wine were exported, down 5 per cent from the year before.
New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green said the reduced 2012 grape harvest meant wine was in shorter supply, which encouraged wineries to improve their positioning in the market.
"It's a great result; these aren't necessarily the easiest times to be doing business," he said.
The rise in export value was driven by a shift towards selling bottled wine, a 30 per cent increase in bulk wine prices, and a move to higher-value markets, he said.
Marlborough wine producer Allan Scott said his company, like many New Zealand wine businesses, had lifted its prices in many markets last year, in response to the reduced harvest.
Although markets such as Australia and the United Kingdom declined, growth prospects in the United States and China were exciting.
"We could have done with more wine last year; we met the markets that were important to us," he said. "We didn't go out there looking for any new markets . . . but this year we're actively looking to increasing export share in all our markets."
Mr Green said New Zealand was now the world's eighth-largest exporter by value, despite being a very small wine producer on the global scale.
Although the emerging markets provided more opportunity to generate value and volume growth, producers would need to to navigate "complex and sometimes chaotic" markets, before their full potential was realised, he said.
Shipments to the United States increased 13 per cent to $284m in the past financial year, making it the second-largest market for New Zealand wines, behind Australia, while exports to Canada lifted 10 per cent to $78m.
The value of sales to New Zealand's traditional markets of Australia and UK both slipped by 2 per cent last year, and volumes reduced significantly, although they were expected to remain fairly consistent in the future.
But increased exports to the United States, Canada and China signalled a longer-term trend towards market diversification.
- The Marlborough Express