Wednesday, 13 February 2019 13:53

The year ahead

Written by  Philip Gregan, CEO of NZ Winegrowers.
Philip Gregan. Philip Gregan.

Another New Year has begun and at least on the weather front appears to have started well with lots of warm, dry weather. Long may that continue!

From a promotional perspective January sees our long-standing Annual tastings in London and Dublin. Then domestically there is the main event - Sauvignon 2019 returns for the second time in New Zealand. Leading producers, experts and key influencers will shine a spotlight on our signature variety over the three days 28 - 30 January. Supporting Sauvignon 2019 are several other key events including the Sommit in Hawke’s Bay, a Wine Flight, and the Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium in Gisborne. 

Throughout the summer months we also look forward to the continuing boom in wine tourism. Of all international holiday visitors, 27% visit a New Zealand winery, and in 2017 we had 712,000 visitors to our wine regions. The international wine tourist is spending more, staying longer and visiting more regions than the average visitor. There are 279 wineries offering more than 400 wine tourism experiences in New Zealand, with services available ranging from cellar doors with tastings, wine tasting experiences with winemakers, vineyard tours, to restaurants and luxury accommodation. 

For many exporters Brexit and the uncertainty around what it could mean continues to be an issue. The risk of a “no deal” Brexit is increasing. Whether or not a deal is struck, the UK is New Zealand wine’s largest single market by volume and we encourage members to talk with their UK distributors to ensure they are as prepared as they can be for the unknown that is Brexit.

While there will be many other opportunities and challenges in the year ahead, for NZW a major task in 2019 will be implementing the outcomes from the Strategic Review. Our first task with the Review complete was getting the results out to members. With that phase now complete the next stage is considering what the Review recommendations mean for NZW activities. NZW’s newly agreed purpose is to protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand wine, and to support sustainable, diversified value growth of New Zealand wine. We need to ensure that is reflected across the breadth of our activities – through research, advocacy, sustainability and marketing.

All the best for a fruitful vintage and a successful 2019. 

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