Covid-19 has seen a surge in sales of New Zealand wine, with July exports up 23 percent on the previous year.
An R&D initiative- Lifestyle Wines programme- will raise New Zealand's already strong reputation for producing some of the world's finest wines.
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, Phillip Gregan says the programme aims to capitalise on market-led opportunities domestically and internationally.
"Research indicates that an increasing proportion of consumers are making purchasing decisions around their lifestyle, such as choosing healthier foods and lower alcohol wines," he says.
"Our challenge now is not just producing high quality lower alcohol and lower calorie wines but producing them naturally—this will give New Zealand a point of difference and make New Zealand the "go to" country for high quality, lower alcohol and lower calorie wines.
The programme will develop a number of viticulture and winery tools that will enable the industry to service the rapidly growing market for lower calorie and lower alcohol wines with high quality, naturally-produced options.
MPI's Director PGP, Justine Gilliland says this is the first wine industry programme under the PGP- "marking not only an exciting time for the PGP, but for our wine industry".
"The PGP as a whole is about growing New Zealand's future," says Gilliland.
"The Lifestyle Wines PGP programme will produce tangible outcomes for the grape and wine industry and the economy as a whole—it'll take our wine industry to a new level."
MPI will invest up to $8.13 million in this PGP programme over seven years, with $8.84 million coming from industry partners as a mixture of cash and in-kind contributions.