Wine export industry set to skyrocket under TPP


The Government says the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will save wine producers $10 million a year in tariffs, in an export industry that's set to be worth $2 billion a year within four years.

Spitting isn't something that's usually encouraged on Air New Zealand flights, but today the airline and the Winegrowers' Association hosted more than 60 international wine connoisseurs and writers to show off New Zealand's wine growing regions by air, tasting the relevant wines while passing overhead.

The Winegrowers' Association doesn't like to use the word "boom" because that implies a "bust" at some point, but says New Zealand wine is in a period of strong international growth.

"In the last 12 years we've gone from $300M of exports to $1.5B and we're still growing strongly," says Chris Yorke, Global Marketing Director of NZ Winegrowers. "We're aiming for $2B of exports by 2020."

It's something that would put wine into New Zealand's top 5 exports.

But there are always challenges, like the weather and the strength of the dollar.

"We're one of the expensive wine-producing countries in the world, so if the economies in our markets aren't performing too well, that can be a challenge," says Karla Wang, Penguin Society founder.

New Zealand produces 1 percent of the world's wine. The US has just overtaken the UK as the country's biggest customer.

Joe Czerwinski is from the New York-based Wine Enthusiasts Magazine.

"It's the consistency of the producers," he says. "Everyone seems to have really good technical skill and most of the wine is friendly, it's really drinkable wine."

In the year to September, 500,000 international tourists visited a winery.

"The reason it's important for New Zealand is it gets people into our regions," Mr Yorke says.

He says "wine tourists" spend up to 50 percent more than other visits.