PHILIP GREGAN, CEO, New Zealand Winegrowers
2013 milestone: This year will long be remembered as a stellar vintage in many winegrowing regions. The white wines released so far have given an insight into the stunning quality of the vintage, which will be confirmed with the appearance of the reds over the coming 18 months.
2014 predictions: North America will likely become the largest market for New Zealand wine. This will be a highly significant development in the history of the industry's export endeavours and will provide a platform for growth in the second half of this decade.
JULES TAYLOR, Winemaker-owner, Jules Taylor Wines
2013 milestone: Winning both the Chardonnay Trophy and New Zealand Producer of the Year at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
2014 predictions: 2014 should finally see a rebalancing of the low stock situation that has been occurring since 2012.
Companies are focusing on, and international buyers discovering, New Zealand's offerings other than sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. Profitability should also be seen at all layers within the industry - from grower to retailer - while the trend of the decreasing importance of Britain and Europe as export markets will continue, along with an increasing focus on Asia and US.
MICHAEL DEARTH, Owner-proprietor, The Grove and Baduzzi
2013 milestone: Opening up my meatball restaurant, Baduzzi.
2014 predictions: In Italy you can drink wine from a different grape every day, so it's exciting to see New Zealand experimenting more with new varieties, such as gruner veltliner and arneis, and making interesting blends. There are also some really fun wines coming here from the likes of Corsica and Sicily. People are enjoying experimenting with different ingredients in the kitchen, but forget that wine is also about experimentation. I hope to see more of this in 2014.
ANGELA CLIFFORD, Director, Tongue in Groove Wines
2013 milestone: Establishing Tongue in Groove Wines and getting it off the ground.
2014 predictions: Wine will become even more of a commoditised product around the world, with more home brand labels and traders creating labels that suggest the wine actually comes from a place which has meaning or a history. This makes it important for those who are actually growing and making wine from a place to tell their story louder and more directly: for this reason, social media will continue to be an important tool. Riesling will become cool. We're just beginning to see the results of trade and industry banging on about how good this wine is and there are real sales figures to back this up now. New Zealand pinot noir will continue to increase its international profile as weather events affect supply in other parts of the world.
SIR GEORGE FISTONICH, Founder and owner, Villa Maria
2013 milestone: My world tour promoting our 50th vintage and then rolling out a revitalised new look for our 51st vintage.
2014 predictions: The long, dry summer of 2013 means predictions are for one of the largest harvests on record and there's a real opportunity for New Zealand wineries to take advantage of a reported global wine shortage. However, it's crucial this is done by maintaining profitability and New Zealand's reputation as a quality producer. We have a strong base for sauvignon blanc, but need to diversify our premium offering to varietals like chardonnay, riesling and pinot gris where we have the climate and skill to produce excellent wines. There needs to be a concerted effort to promote these wines.
LIZ WHEADON, General manager, Glengarry
2013 milestone: Successfully completing the first year of my Master of Wine studies.
2014 predictions: It's great to see the Government supporting the industry in its low alcohol wines, which is a big opportunity as, internationally, this market has taken off. We are seeing a lot more interest in these in the stores and expect we'll see more in 2014 as customers are conscious of their alcohol consumption on many fronts. We're also seeing massive growth and interest in cava and prosecco, which has been happening for a few years now and I expect will continue. New Zealand sparkling wine has had a great year and should also see interest in this category hit new heights.
START THE YEAR WITH SOME GREAT WINES:
Tiki Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $24.95
Ripe nectarine and passionfruit infused with jasmine-like florals make Tiki's sauvignon beguilingly rich and perfumed. From Fine Wine Delivery Company, Wine Direct and New World Remuera.
Folding Hill Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 $40
Layers of smooth black cherry fruit, sweet spice, florals, herb, mineral and game combine in this impressive pinot. From Point Wines, Bacchus Wines, Newmarket Super Liquor and Cambridge Fine Wines.
Newton Forrest Stony Corner Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2011 $29
An elegant red blend from a partnership between Australian viticulturist Bob Newton and Marlborough's John Forrest, supple with dark berries and nuances of meat and pepper. From Glengarry, Fine Wine Delivery Company, The Village Winery and Frog in A Barrel.