25 Aug 2011

Future of NZ wine industry 'likely to lie in Asia'

8:10 pm on 25 August 2011

Agriculture Minister David Carter says the future success of New Zealand's wine industry is likely to lie in Asia.

Winegrowers from around the country are meeting in Auckland this week to discuss the state of the sector.

Industry leaders say the wine market has emerged from some tough times and looks likely to be turning a corner.

Mr Carter told winegrowers the future of the wine market lies in exports to Asia, especially China where there is an increasingly wealthy, educated and curious Chinese population seeking out the prestige of western brands.

He says in that regard Made in New Zealand is hitting the mark.

Mr Carter also says the Rugby World Cup will be a huge opportunity to show off New Zealand's best wines to visitors.

New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Stuart Smith says export profits are being eaten away by the ups and downs of the dollar.

He says to survive wineries are cutting costs, which means lower prices to growers, prices which for many are unsustainable.

Mr Smith says winegrowers, wineries and suppliers should be proud of what they have achieved in such a volatile market, especially during the global financial crisis.