Global wine shortage good for NZ growers

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:30 17/01/2013
Dominic Pecchenino
SCOTT HAMMOND/Marlborough Express
SURPLUS: Marlborough Winegrowers chairman Dominic Pecchenino

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New Zealand wineries are in a good position to leverage the global wine shortage and boost profitability, says New Zealand Winegrowers Marlborough chairman Dominic Pecchenino.

However, wine consumers may not be able to buy their favourite drop for the discounted prices they have become accustomed to in recent years.

There have been a series of poor vintages in major wine-producing countries in recent years including Spain, Italy, France, the United States, Argentina and Chile. World financial publication Bloomberg last year reported a global wine shortage of 1.3 billion bottles was imminent after last year's short vintages.

Mr Pecchenino said this shortage would impact wines across all price points, including the super premium range, which New Zealand produced.

"I think it puts New Zealand wineries in a good situation to work away at lifting some of their price points.

"It's also a good opportunity to fill the gap and look at expanding in some markets."

New Zealand also had a smaller harvest last year, when 60,000 tonnes less of grapes were harvested than in 2011, equating to 46 million litres less wine to sell.

New Zealand wine industry leaders believed the short vintage returned the supply and demand balance back in favour of grape growers and wineries, after four years of oversupply.

There was also an increase in the grape price last year, the first since the four-year wine glut caused by a bumper harvest in 2008, on the back of the global financial crisis.

Saint Clair Family Estate owner Neal Ibbotson said it was too early to tell if the global wine shortage would benefit his wine company.

However he had increased the price of some wines by an average 5 per cent in some markets, including New Zealand.

"We are not seeing the benefit of the global shortage yet, but all the signs now are looking positive for New Zealand," he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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