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The man who helped make Montana the jewel in New Zealand's wine crown is alarmed at how the industry has been placed at great risk.

Peter Hubscher says in this week's Listener that New Zealand used to command the highest average price per litre of wine in the vital British market, but is now in danger of being seen as a cheap producer of "commodity" sauvignon blanc.

He says overplanting of this grape has resulted in a market glut that may require a repeat of the government-subsidised vine-pull of the mid-1980s.