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New Zealand wine exports reach NZ$2 billion

Published:  26 November, 2020

International demand for New Zealand wine has surged over the past decade, with total export value now reaching a record-breaking NZ$2 billion in 2020.

Exports have doubled over the past decade, from a total export value of NZ$1.04 billion in 2010 to NZ$2 billion for the 12 months to October 2020.

The figures come via New Zealand Winegrowers. The association notes that the country’s winemakers have witnessed challenging vintages, recessions and now a global pandemic during that time.

Export performance has been consistently strong however, even in 2020, when the country saw an increase of 19% for the first four months of the new export year (July to October) versus 2019.

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

“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,” Jones said.

New Zealand’s upward trajectory appears to have been buoyed by consistently strong sales in major markets like the UK, the US Canada, and China, where the country remains either the highest or second highest priced wine category.

This year, like the rest of the world, wineries have had to contend with the global coronavirus pandemic.

The impact of Covid-19 on the industry has been mixed, New Zealand Winegrowers said, as different parts of the industry face a range of opportunities and challenges. This includes increasing costs of production and a potential labour shortage.

“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,” Jones concluded.