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Strong export value and increasing international demand will help support further export growth over the next 12 months, despite a challenging season and a smaller harvest than last year, reports New Zealand Winegrowers.

The total value of the New Zealand wine industry exports (year to May 2023) was $2.4 billion, up 25% on 2022.

“Reaching another new record level of wine exports into some of the world’s largest and most competitive markets is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters, and testifies to the increasingly strong global demand for our wines,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“New Zealand wine, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, is going from strength to strength in the USA, as consumers appreciate the distinctive flavours, commitment to quality, and know it is a unique product that they can trust.”

This year’s vintage will help the industry to meet increasing international demand, and consumers can look forward to some exceptional 2023 New Zealand wines. Nationally, harvest was down six percent on the record level 2022 vintage.

In the South Island the 2023 vintage was excellent overall, and well received by growers, who enjoyed better growing conditions in which to complete harvest. On the other hand, unprecedented wet weather made the season tough for regions in the North Island.

However, despite these challenges, producers were largely very happy with the quality of the 2023 harvest.

“Regions across the North Island were hit hard by the unprecedented wet weather throughout summer, but their incredible hard work and commitment to producing premium quality wines means that consumers will continue to enjoy the distinctive wines that they know and love. Hawke’s Bay’s recent inclusion as one of just 12 Great Wine Capitals of the world is of regional and national significance, and shows that while New Zealand’s wine growing industry is still young, we offer quality to rival the world’s oldest”.

The success of the 2023 vintage further emphasises the resilience of the industry, as surging production costs continue to impact growers and wineries, and the scarcity of skilled workers remains a concern, along with operating in an uncertain economic environment.

Meanwhile with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions world-wide, many in the industry are pleased to see the return of international wine tourists to New Zealand.

“People are starting to feel more comfortable traveling internationally, and we are once again welcoming tourists to New Zealand’s shores with open arms,” says Gregan.

“With over 500 small wineries in New Zealand, the majority of whom only sell domestically, having international visitors arriving at their front door again makes a big difference.

“Cellar doors are busy showcasing all that our unique wine regions have to offer, and alongside domestic holidaymakers, international tourists will be a welcome support for wine businesses.”

Photo courtesy of New Zealand Winegrowers Inc and Craggy Range.

Glenn Baker

Professional writer/editor with 35-plus years experience - including radio copywriting, various television writing/production roles, and writing for business magazines. I have also co-owned a wholesale food distribution business.

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