Winegrowers reject ownership claim
NZFirst leader Winston Peters' statement that 50 per cent of Marlborough wineries are foreign-owned is incorrect, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Stuart Smith.
Mr Smith said according to New Zealand Winegrowers' figures the number of foreign-owned wineries was closer to 3 per cent nationwide.
It was difficult to isolate the Marlborough figures because a lot of the wineries with a presence in the region were not based here, he said.
When Mr Peters spoke to the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce last week, he said he thought Marlborough was one of the great wine regions of the world, but was surprised that 50 per cent of its wineries were foreign-owned.
Mr Smith said while Mr Peters was entitled to his opinion, his figure was not correct.
Of the 700 wineries in New Zealand, only 24 had some level of foreign ownership, he said.
"In terms of [New Zealand Winegrowers'] best estimates, only 3 per cent of New Zealand's wineries are owned or partially owned by foreigners.
"In terms of total production - grapes that are processed and made into wine - less than 20 per cent is made by foreign entities."
Foreign-owned wineries such as Brancott Estate, which is owned by the global wine and spirit company Pernod Ricard, buy half their grapes from New Zealand growers, he said.
"Foreign ownership has been very good for the industry, by bringing a route to international markets, and adding value to our products."
- The Marlborough Express