The New Zealand wine story is driven mainly by Sauvignon Blanc. While other varieties have grown, it’s the unique flavour of the ‘savi’ that stands out.
Like many goods, fashion has a role to play and Sauvignon Blanc remains ‘in’ as a wine preference in established markets and is finding favour with new consumers in developed and developing markets.
It currently accounts for around 58 per cent of the planted area in New Zealand vineyards, 70 per cent of annual production and 86 per cent of annual exports.
Other varieties are also on the rise, with plantings of complementary white styles such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris set to increase, as well as Pinot Noir and Merlot.
NZ wineries are getting larger.It appears to be a case of be big and get scale, or be very, very boutique. While there are no formal statistics on who is funding the new development, the majority is being undertaken by large wine companies that are both foreign and locally owned.
Wineries with annual sales in excess of four million litres now control an estimated 64 per cent of exports versus 49 per cent only five years ago.
While a larger proportion was controlled by these companies 15 years ago, this was just two players. Today there are 17 companies with annual sales in excess of four million litres.
The number of smaller wineries that are locally owned and largely service the domestic and Australian markets peaked in 2012 and is now on the decline (both by number and share of production).
It all adds up to a future toast for the NZ wine market.