New Zealand wine exports hit $2 billion

International demand for New Zealand wine has surged over the past decade, with total export value now reaching a record-breaking $2 billion, for the 12 months to October 2020, according to New Zealand Winegrowers.

Ten years ago, New Zealand Winegrowers predicted that New Zealand wine exports would double and reach $2 billion in 2020. This forecast has come true – despite sometimes challenging vintages, recessions, and now a global pandemic.

“This milestone reflects the appreciation that the world has for New Zealand wine, and reinforces our international reputation for distinct, premium and sustainable wines,” says Clive Jones, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers, in a statement.

The statement says that ongoing strong export performance has seen an increase of 19 percent for the first four months of the new export year (July to October), on the same time in 2019. The premium reputation of New Zealand wine has translated to real value in its major markets where the country remains either the highest or second highest priced wine category in the USA, UK, Canada and China.

“We are optimistic that demand for New Zealand wine will continue to grow in the year ahead, and then it will become a question of whether our supply can meet that demand. While Sauvignon Blanc remains our flagship export, consumers are continuing to explore the diverse range of wine varieties we produce, with Pinot Noir remaining our second most exported variety, and Rosé and Pinot Gris becoming increasingly popular.”

The impact of Covid-19 on the industry has been mixed, as different parts of the industry face a range of opportunities and challenges. The increasing costs of production and a potential labour shortage have also added pressure.

 “Exports to our key international markets have increased beyond expectations this year, but on the other hand, wine businesses that sell predominantly through on-premise and wine tourism have experienced significant challenges. Encouragingly in the domestic market, we are seeing people continue to buy and support local.

After the industry withstood the 2020 harvest during Level 4 lockdown, we were planning for a worst-case scenario. But instead what we have seen is that while the world has changed in 2020, what has not changed is people’s love for New Zealand wine,” he says.

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