Wine test changes boon to growers

Changes planned for laboratory testing of wine exports to Europe should cut compliance costs for Central Otago wine growers.

The Minister for Food Safety, Kate Wilkinson, said in a media release wineries would be able to have export wine tested closer to home instead of it having to be sent to Auckland for analysis.

Under new arrangements announced this week, laboratories throughout the country can apply to carry out wine testing.

Ms Wilkinson said the changes were in response to requests from winemakers, who had expressed frustration over the current process.

"It makes sense that wine should be allowed to be tested at any appropriate lab rather than forcing wineries to send everything to Auckland," Ms Wilkinson said.

Winegrowers New Zealand deputy chairman Steve Green, of Bannockburn, said it was good news for wine exporters.

"I'm pleased to see that again the Government is supporting New Zealand wineries," Mr Green said.

The move would remove some of the red tape and cut compliance costs for Central Otago wineries.

The United Kingdom was the biggest market for New Zealand wine exports. In the 12 months ending in February, the UK took 33 million litres of New Zealand wine.

The wine testing provided information needed on the composition of the wines and guaranteed it complied with import requirements. Each batch of wine had to be tested.

Wine exports from this country are expected to top $1 billion this year for the first time.


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