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Predicted Growth to Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine

March 14, 2016

Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry

The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020. Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take those productive hectares up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase.

The optimism and future development is coming on the back of continual growth of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in export markets such as North America, Europe and Asia. Currently this one variety has an export value of $1.2 billion.

While the growth is being welcomed by the industry, those surveyed readily admitted it will create a number of challenges, the major one being the availability of labour.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said expansion plans, which are coming from both large and small to medium sized wineries, will mean a 24 percent increase on current worker numbers is also required in this timeframe.

“In particular, vineyards and contractors indicate they will need an additional 189 permanent workers, 600 winter Regional Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) workers and 306 summer RSE workers by 2019/20,” Mr. Pickens said. “In addition the survey indicates there will be an increase in demand for another 884 casuals across the year.”

Industry members surveyed are keen to see the current cap on RSE workers lifted, to help meet that demand. They also believed there would be other related challenges, including the need for more accommodation, pastoral care and health services.

“More purpose built accommodation facilities will also be needed for increased permeant, casual and RSE workers to ensure we adequately accommodate people working in and coming into our industry,” Mr. Pickens said.

While the projected wine industry growth will provide an economic boom for the Marlborough region, Mr. Pickens said it will require a collaborative approach from the industry, community and also local and central government to help guide the Marlborough wine industry through this next phase of development.

ends

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