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Anderton raises his glass to winegrowers

5 October 2004 Media release

Anderton raises his glass to Marlborough winegrowers

Anderton sampling Tohu's Sauvingon Blanc: left to right Stacy Dempsey, Sales and Marketing Manager Tohu Wines Michelle Beckett, CE Marlborough Wine Growers Jim Anderton, Minister of Economic, Industry and Regional Development Stuart Smith Board member of Marlborough Wine Growers

Marlborough winegrowers celebrated their latest vintage with Jim Anderton, Minister for Regional Development, in the Beehive today. Mr Anderton raised his glass to them for their successes at home and in the international arena.

"These are vintage years for the New Zealand wine industry. It is experiencing strong growth and receiving stunning international accolades. In the year to June, national wine exports went past $300 million for the first time and Marlborough alone achieved a 128 per cent increase over its production last year.

"Marlborough is at the forefront of this success with its world renowned sauvignon blanc in particular, but other varietals also: riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, pinot gris and some fine sparkling wines are being produced.

"I am pleased to be part of the Labour Progressive government that proactively supports this economic growth. I particularly look forward to the results of the work you do with the Marlborough Wine Centre of Excellence, which is supported by our Major Regional Initiative funding.

"The government doesn't make wine, but it can help to grow the industry with research and appropriate support. We can also provide advice and assistance to help to commercialise your wine and compete in global markets.

"I raise my glass to congratulate you and celebrate our continued productive partnership," Jim Anderton said.

Full speech follows...

Marlborough Wine Growers - spc
Economic Development
05 October 2004
Topic: Jim Anderton's Speeches
SPEECH NOTES

Acknowledgements

Stuart Smith, member of the Marlborough Wine Growers Board, Michelle Beckett, Chief Executive of the Marlborough Wine Growers, representatives from 38 wine companies in Marlborough, company directors, and fellow wine lovers.

Ministers have the privilege of attending a few openings.

There is a story told about a Minister in a former government who was asked to receive a presentation after he spoke.

First a little girl who was the daughter of the village florist stepped forward and presented a large bouquet of flowers.

Then a little boy stepped forward with a large box.

The Minister asked what his Daddy did, and the boy told him he’s the local winegrower.

The Minister saw the little drip coming from the corner of the box and he said, ‘ah, I bet I can guess what this is!’

He caught a drip on his finger to taste and said, ‘I bet this is a bottle of vintage wine.’

The little boy said, ‘No sir.’

So he had another go ‘Is it a fine liqueur?’

The little boy said, ‘No sir.’

'Okay, I give up, what is it?’

‘Well sir,’ the little boy said, ‘It’s a puppy.’

Thank you for inviting me here today to open this celebration of the 2004 Marlborough vintage.

I know this year has produced excellent quantities and the quality signs are very promising.

Just as wines have vintage years, so economies and industries have vintage times and not so-vintage times.

By any measure, these are vintage days for the New Zealand wine industry.

It has experienced strong growth and stunning international accolades.

Marlborough has always been at the forefront.

In the 25 years, from the first commercial release of sauvignon blanc, you have helped forge an amazing reputation for New Zealand wines.

The reputation you have established has delivered a premium price.

Today’s consumers worldwide are prepared to pay more for New Zealand sauvignon blanc than they are for sauvignon blanc from anywhere else.

For example, New Zealand has the highest average selling price of any country exporting wine to the United Kingdom.

Marlborough sauvignon blanc continues to get glowing reports from wine experts everywhere.

Michael Franz, a US wine writer for the Washington Post recently said:

"Marlborough sauvignon blanc is an absolutely extraordinary wine, derived from a grape that reaches comparable heights nowhere else, produced in a place that attains comparable greatness with no other grape."

In the year to June, national wine exports went past $300 million for the first time.

The 2004 vintage in Marlborough achieved a 128 per cent increase over last year (when frost took its toll).

The quality of the 2004 vintage has been excellent.

Wine exports have surged and new records are being set in the 2004-05 year for monthly wine exports.

The biggest barrier over the last decade has been limited supply.

So the increase in production this year gives us great opportunities.

It’s also exciting to see Marlborough earning a growing reputation as a premium producer of other varieties.

Riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay, gewürztraminer (gah-verts-tram-iner), pinot gris (pee-no gree) and some fine sparkling wines are being produced.

One of the major elements in your international success has been partnership across the industry.

By working together at regional and national level the industry has been able to grow more quickly.

It has overcome barriers.

I’ve always believed the government has a role to play in that partnership as well.

The government doesn’t grow grapes or turn them into world-class wine.

But it can provide advice and assistance to help to commercialise those products and compete in global markets.

The approach the government takes is to build on existing strengths of each region.

The Marlborough region identified the wine industry as its highest priority.

The region and the government are working in partnership to grow it through the Marlborough Wine Centre of Excellence, which has received $2 million in support from NZ Trade and Enterprise to help it get off the ground.

One collaborative project recently funded at the centre is to look at developing distinctive New Zealand styles of sauvignon blanc.

This sort of research is vital to ensure New Zealand and Marlborough maintain their world leading reputation.

I believe we can be very confident about the Marlborough economy - just as we can be confident about the New Zealand economy.

The Wine Centre of Excellence is an example of what can be achieved when people work together in partnership across the region, and with central government.

Half the value of New Zealand wine exports comes from this region.

More knowledge, more innovation, and more partnerships produce even higher export earnings.

Last month we saw a major endorsement of how well New Zealand is doing these days.

The World Bank released a study about business conditions in virtually every country in the world.

It looked at what those countries were like as a place to do business.

The World Bank study shows that those countries where it’s easiest to do business are making the most progress up the economic ladder.

They tend to have the best social systems, too, because the two go hand in hand.

Among every country in the world, the World Bank said the best on average for doing business is New Zealand.

We’re ahead of the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

We’re ahead of Europe, and certainly ahead of Australia.

Not only are we ahead, as they used to say in the days of the old Hit Parade, we’re Number One.

New Zealand is improving, we’re going up the performance indicators.

The Labour-Progressive coalition government’s policy of working in partnership with regions and business is paying off.

Our regional, sector and industry development strategies have contributed to four consecutive years of growth.

New Zealand’s outstanding run of economic results has been developed by pro-active, hands on partnerships.

Being a good place to do business doesn’t guarantee success.

You still have to work hard at it, and we have many obstacles still to overcome.

But consider this: We have a framework the World Bank independently assesses as the best in the world.

We have some of the most creative and talented people in the world.

And all the regions of New Zealand are working in partnership with central government to unlock our potential.

Marlborough’s wine industry is another exciting example.

I’m very proud of everything it is achieving.

I congratulate you all on the contributions you’re making.

As entrepreneurs, as caretakers of the land and as agencies driving economic growth - there is a role for everyone.

We need to offer a positive future to every young person growing up in Marlborough - and in New Zealand.

With a confident vision, we can achieve as much as we want to achieve and offer hope and opportunity.

I wish you all the best in the continued growth of the Marlborough wine industry,

It is locking in its substantial gains.

It is producing higher incomes, more jobs and helping to secure the future of this region.

Like a good wine - and like certain politicians - regions get better with age.

I look forward to hearing further reports of the industry’s and the region’s progress.

Best wishes to you all.

Ends


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