Bullish wine industry survey

Marlborough harvest (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Deloitte and ANZ, with support from NZ Winegrowers, recently released their annual check-up on the health of the New Zealand wine industry. I was tempted to list the key points under “Good News” and “Bad News” headings but there really isn’t a heck of a lot of bad news.

The survey involved 45 producers that together produce 56% of the country’s wine and account for 41% of total exports. It’s not a complete survey but it is a large enough sample to be usefully indicative.

Here are the main points of interest (to me at least):

  • Profitability increases with size. Small wineries averaged a loss of 3.1% while large wineries had a profit of 20.6%. A similar phenomenon existed in earlier years.
  • Smaller producers make higher-priced wines. No surprises there. Average price for the smallest producers was NZD $17.49/litre while the largest sector averaged NZD $7.67/litre.
  • There are currently 7,349 people employed in the wine industry (one-third in Marlborough and around one-fifth in Auckland).
  • Wine tourism growing rapidly. Wine tourists spend NZD $4,500 on each visit compared to the average for all visitors of NZD $3,200. There are now 247 cellar doors across NZ. Marlborough has about the same number of cellar doors as Central Otago.
  • Exports are up by 19% in our top three markets (US, UK & Australia)
  • The big are getting bigger. Marlborough now produces around 80% of the national grape tonnage.
  • The lowest yield of tonnes/hectare belongs to pinot noir from Central Otago (4 tonnes/ha) and Wairarapa (4.1 tonnes/ha).
  • The highest yield of tonnes/ha is shared by Marlborough sauvignon blanc (14.4 t/ha) and Gisborne chardonnay (14.5 t/ha)

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