New Zealand wine exports have begun to rebound as stocks from
the record 2013 harvest find their way to improving markets.
For Central Otago's niche pinot noir exports, the year did
not produce a bumper harvest but the quality of the vintage
was ''shaping up as good'', but it was too early to call it
classic, Central Otago Winegrowers Association president
James Dicey said when contacted.
Rabobank's latest wine quarterly report showed shipment
volumes in the year to date decreased 0.8% on the previous
corresponding period, but shipments in July this year surged
27%, compared with July last year.
Mr Dicey said sales by volume, as reported by Rabobank, were
driven by Marlborough's sauvignon blanc sales, whereas
quality, not quantity, was the Central Otago measure.
''Central Otago is relatively positive, with most of its
markets, which have been struggling, [now] showing signs of
progress,'' he said.
He said the US market was showing ''positive signs'', against
recent trends, as were Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Singapore and Hong Kong.
However, China remained a difficult market to determine and
Canada, which used government monopolies for distribution,
was a ''lottery''.
Overall, New Zealand wines continued to find favour in North
American markets, while volumes sent to the United Kingdom
had begun to increase as more stock became available.
In the meantime, exports of Australian wine continued to
trend downwards. Shipment volumes fell by 7.1% in the seven
months to July, compared to the same period last year.
Mr Dicey said sales of New Zealand pinot noir to Australia
were down about 3%, noting parochial Australians preferred
their own pinots.
Rabobank said while exports to the UK and US markets had
declined at much the same rate, declining shipments to the US
market had largely been driven by lower demand for bulk wine.
The harvest had begun in the northern hemisphere and
production was set to be mixed, with high yields and marked
improvements in some regions while others appeared set to see
the lowest production in recent history, the report said.
Warm weather got the California grape crop off to an early
start and expectations were for a large crop of just below 4
million tonnes, slightly below last year's record harvest.
Many European producers were reporting a very challenging
wine grape crop, mostly notably in France, Europe's largest
supplier, which was expecting the worst harvest in more than
Hailstorms and cool weather had decimated the crop, both in
quantity and quality. While many European producers were
facing difficulties, Italy and Spain appeared to be heading
for more normalised production levels, well above last year's
exceptionally low figures.