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One Winery Opens In New Zealand Every 14 Days

30 May 2005

One Winery Opens In New Zealand Every 14 Days

The opening of New Zealand's 500th winery is testament to the strong growth of the wine industry, according to New Zealand Winegrowers.

Dr John Barker, New Zealand Winegrowers' Manager of Policy and Membership, said the opening of St Lukes Estate Wines Limited, Blenheim, is a significant milestone for the industry.

"In 1995 there were 204 wineries in New Zealand. With the opening of the 500th winery this year, the numbers have more than doubled - that's the equivalent of a new winery opening every two weeks.

"The majority of this growth has come from small wineries which each sell less than 200,000 litres per year. Wineries in this category have grown from 188 to around 470 in the last ten years. These "hands-on", boutique businesses make an enormous contribution to the prestigious image of New Zealand wine," he said.

St Lukes Estate Wines is owned and operated by Graeme McLean, and Graeme and Ann Giles, and grows sauvignon blanc, pinot and chardonnay varieties. The first vintage, released later this year, will be a combination of sauvignon blanc grapes from the Blind River and Spring Creek regions in Marlborough.

Graeme Giles said the company's first 1,000 cases are destined for the US market. "Family based in Los Angeles will manage the marketing and distribution channels. Our strategy is to grow at a sustainable rate, producing high-quality wines from a small, well structured winery," he said.

Dr Barker said with export volumes approaching 50 million litres, 12 months to April, and the registration of the 500th winery, the industry is moving into the next phase of development with all the challenges of continuing growth in a competitive market.

"Our success as an industry has stemmed from working together with a clear focus on quality. As we move into the next phase of development both these elements will continue to be equally important," he said.

Land used for wine producing grape vineyards has grown significantly from 6,000 hectares in 1995 to 21,000 hectares today, an increase of 250 percent.

Dr Barker said exports will continue to grow. "Key products have proved popular in main markets such as Australia and the United States.

"Export volumes for the past 12 months to April total almost 49 million litres, compared with 7.8 million litres in 1995," he said.

ENDS

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