Industry could suffer as New Zealanders cut down on wine

Changing attitudes towards wine-drinking could impact on the New Zealand viticulture industry. 

Wine writer Michael Cooper says consumption is dropping in parts of the wine market, with wine-drinking trends shifting both overseas and here. 

"Kiwis are drinking a bit less wine at the very time that we're making more wine than ever before," he said.

Mr Cooper says in 2009, Kiwis were drinking an average of 21.5 litres of wine each per year. That's now dropped to 19.2 litres per person, and he says smaller wineries could take a hit. 

"Over the last decade, our consumption of New Zealand wine has dropped by 20 percent, so that's quite a significant trend," Mr Cooper explained.

He says in the UK, consumers in the younger age brackets are drinking much less or avoiding alcohol altogether - and the only age bracket that's seen a rise in wine consumption is 65 years and older. 

But Villa Maria executive director Fabian Yukich says it's a shift to quality over quantity - and that's not a bad thing for New Zealand wine. 

"It may be a concern for some of the other countries where maybe they're not in that premium area, but for us I think it's a good thing, because people are more discerning," he said.

"[They're] maybe drinking less, but drinking more of those premium products - and that's what we actually make," he said.

New Zealand's fifth largest export, wine is on track to make $2 billion per year by 2020.

Kiwis are still enjoying it, but drinking maybe just one pricier glass instead of two.