6 Aug 2012

More funding to help raise status of NZ wine in US

7:46 am on 6 August 2012

Some of the country's top wineries have received more government funding to try and raise the status of New Zealand wine in the United States.

The group, called the Complexity Initiative, was formed in 2010, and represents 17 wineries.

It has secured another two years of funding totalling $600,000 from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). The money will be used to market 45 top wines to consumers, restaurateurs and critics in the US.

Complexity Initiative chair Ian Morden, who is also the director of Marlborough winery Cloudy Bay Estate, says that, if successful, the effect will hopefully trickle down to the rest wine industry.

He says they hope to convince key opinion leaders that New Zealand offers excellent wine at an attractive price by world standards.

Mr Morden says they believe if they can build that brand awareness with gatekeepers, opinion leaders and people serving the wine, those benefits will flow to future New Zealand wine producers.

He says New Zealand vineyards have recovered from the wine glut of 2008, and there's a growing sense of optimism across the industry.

Mr Morden says last year there was a lower-yield vintage of very high quality.

He says after the wine glut of 2008 the industry is moving back into a supply-and-demand balance over the next two to three years.

"So that will drive value back into the industry, it will also force out the marginal players who've traded in virtual brands based on a bulk market that was fed by essentially oversupply, and we'll be able to build value back into the industry."