Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Thirst strong for NZ wines

New Zealand's cool-climate wine styles are favoured in most major markets. Photo / John Cowpland
New Zealand's cool-climate wine styles are favoured in most major markets. Photo / John Cowpland

Export growth is on the cards for the Kiwi wine industry this year amid rising global demand, says rural lending specialist Rabobank.

The bank, in its latest quarterly report on the wine sector, said demand growth for New Zealand wine was expected to continue with the country's cool-climate wine styles and premium positioning remaining in favour in most major export markets.

Wine analyst Marc Soccio said consumers in major wine markets were willing to pay more for the lighter-bodied wines such as those produced in New Zealand.

On the supply side, production volumes this year of New Zealand wine grapes were expected to be much higher than in 2015, he said.

"The volume of the 2016 vintage looks ... just right - it won't be too big, yet it also won't be too small for most companies entering the year with stocks erring on the tight side."

Aside from the positives, there was some concern that the apparent upside is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of the country's largest producers, he said.

One of the key factors favouring New Zealand's larger producers was their ability to source suitable distribution in key growth markets.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the wine sector had been boosted by the NZ dollar's decline against the US dollar.

- NZ Herald

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