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Goldilocks year for NZ wine: Rabobank

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/04/2016 Fiona Rotherham

A glass of wine © ML Harris/Getty Images A glass of wine Production volumes of New Zealand wine grapes this year are expected to be significantly higher than in 2015, says Rabobank's latest quarterly wine report.

"The volume of the 2016 vintage looks like it will be just right - it won't be too big, yet it also won't be too small for most companies entering the year with stocks erring on the tight side," said report co-author and wine analyst Marc Soccio.

Keeping stocks within a manageable range is a perennial challenge for wine producers worldwide and continues to be one of the greatest challenges confronting New Zealand's wine industry.

He said there is considerable potential for large vintage variations - both in terms of quality and quantity - owing to the country's cool climate.

The 2016 harvest is well underway in New Zealand and early expectations are for a larger harvest than 2015 but not as large as the record 2014 crop.

A quality crop of this size would help fuel growing export markets while not placing undue pressure on pricing and profitability, he said. The 2015 vintage was 326,000 tonnes, down 27 per cent on 2014.

The New Zealand industry has just posted another strong year of export growth in 2015 and Mr Soccio expects that demand to continue this year. New Zealand wine exports rose 7 per cent to $1.42 billion in 2015.

"There's little evidence of this trend reversing any time soon. In fact, the growing role women and younger generations play when it comes to purchasing decisions only seems likely to support it further," he said.

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