Wednesday, 21 February 2018 12:19

Things to watch for in 2018

Written by  Philip Gregan
Philip Gregan. Philip Gregan.

What is the New Year going to bring for wine? 

At this time of the year that is the question everyone has. So the following are some thoughts on developments to watch out for in the next 12 months.

Is this the year for China?

One of the most notable developments in export markets in the past 12 months has been the strong growth in China. Shipments to China grew 42% to $38.6 million in the past year while the price per litre is also up a very encouraging 10% to $14.74 per litre; volume was up 29% to over 2.5 m litres. If the current rate of growth continues in the year ahead that means export to China would exceed $50 million making it our fifth largest export market. The growth numbers are supported by strong winery interest in the market with a record attendance at our wine events last year. So developments in China exports are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the next 12 months. 

Brexit – what’s it really going to mean?

Continuing the export theme, it would seem that 2018 is definitely going to be the year in which we find out about what is actually going to happen with Brexit. The Brexit decision is now well over a year old and the clock is ticking on arrangements between the UK and Europe.  With the UK being our single largest market by volume and Europe (including the UK) taking over $500 million of New Zealand wine, final decisions on Brexit will be of interest to every New Zealand grape grower and winemaker. And from an New Zealand perspective, there is a prospect of FTAs with both the UK and the EU. So again definitely a space to watch over the next 12 months. 

Keeping Brown Marmorated Stink Bug at bay

At this time of year the New Zealand border is virtually under attack from BMSB. Information we have received from MPI shows that the number of interceptions at the border in recent weeks is at a higher level than ever before which means the threat to our industry is greater than ever. Keeping BMSB out of the country is a top priority because the industry will face significant costs and major control issues if it gets established here. So please keep an eye on your vineyards and wineries and if you see anything unusual don’t forget to Catch it Snap and Report it. Lets hope the report card in coming months is a very boring ‘Nothing to report’!

The new Government

2017 delivered a new government for New Zealand but in reality there was little time for the new administration to get up and running in the pre-Christmas period. A new government always brings new priorities and a new way of doing things so it will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months. Our initial contacts with the government have been positive including a decision pre-Christmas to lift the cap on the number of RSE workers coming into the country. That was a good positive first step from the new administration - let’s hope the trend continues.

Women in Wine – the NZW Elections

I have just watched a wonderful video message from Prime Minister Jacinda Adern to the initial meeting of Central Otago Women in Wine group. That reminded me that one of the catalysts for forming Women in Wine was the fact that there were no female candidates in the 2016 elections for the New Zealand Winegrowers Board. With an NZW Board election to be held later this year let’s hope that there will be some female candidates – without doubt another space to watch, and if you want to know more about Women in Wine in the meantime feel free to contact National Coordinator Nicky Grandorge at the Auckland office.

Vintage – of course!

A new year, a new vintage. 

We have already had some media inquiries about how the season is going and our response has been “so far, so good”. At this time of year there’s lots of work to be done in the vineyard and with the season appearing to be early that means time pressure for all concerned. In simple terms there are two aspects that everyone needs to keep an eye on during the vintage – not surprisingly they are quality and quantity.  Our industry built its reputation by producing high-quality, distinctive wines and that’s what we need to do year in, year out if we are to enhance that reputation. In terms of quantity the risks from both under and over supply are well known so let’s hope that vintage 2018 delivers a harvest of the right size.

Good luck for the next few weeks – may it continue to deliver good growing and ripening conditions so that vintage 2018 is one to remember for all the right reasons.T



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