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NZ Winegrowers 2005 Annual Report Released

22 August 2005

For immediate release

New Zealand Winegrowers 2005 Annual Report Released

* A record-breaking year with the opening of the 500th winery in New Zealand

* Export sales exceeded 50 million litres, accounting for over 50 percent of sales for the first time

* Dramatically improved domestic sales

On the back of the record 2004 vintage, the New Zealand wine industry achieved a number of firsts in 2005 and is one of the country's fastest growing export earners.

The New Zealand Winegrowers 2005 Annual Report, released today, highlights the industry's major achievements with total sales reaching new heights at 96 million litres, export sales accounting for 53 percent - exceeding domestic sales for the first time, and New Zealand's 500th winery registered in May.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, Philip Gregan, says the record 2004 vintage of 167,000 tonnes helped New Zealand wine exporters to open new markets, trial new products and increase sales in existing markets.

"The industry is in a solid position for future growth and can take confidence from the achievements in the 12 months to June 2005, with record sales, new markets and more wineries. Export sales are now well over 50 million litres per year and we look set for further growth following the 2005 vintage of 142,000 tonnes, the second largest harvest ever.

"These achievements were not without challenges as we faced a strong New Zealand dollar, rising costs and increased taxes, all of which are placing pressure on our profitability," he says.

Going forward, Gregan says the New Zealand wine industry is on track for rapid growth with projected sales in excess of $1.5 billion by 2010.

Gregan says if forecast growth is to be sustainable, it is crucial the industry maintains its focus on innovation, learning, quality and continues to work closely together.

"The industry must be profitable to enable investment in the future so we can build new wineries, plant new vineyards and invest in our people," he says.

Highlights and Milestones

June 2005: Total sales of New Zealand wine reached 96 million litres, a new industry record and more than 40 percent higher than the previous peak.

June 2005: Export sales reached 51 million litres for the year-end June 2005, an increase of 64 percent on previous sales of 31 million litres for year-end June 2004.

June 2005: Exports exceeded domestic sales for the first time, accounting for 53 percent of total sales.

June 2005: The value of exports was $435 million for the year-end June 2005, up 44 percent on $303 million for the year-end June 2004.

June 2005: The Australian government extended a tax rebate of up to $A290,000 per annum for each New Zealand exporter selling into the Australian market.

May 2005: The opening of the 500th winery signaled significant confidence in the industry - the equivalent of a new winery opening every two weeks since 1995.

July 2004: The Winery Programme of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand launched nationwide. Membership grew to 51 wineries, which are jointly responsible for processing over 70,000 tonnes of grapes - approximately half the vintage.

ENDS

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