On January 1 the Marlborough Express reported there is a surplus of New Zealand wine on the horizon and also concern how some lower quality fruit might compromise the image of New Zealand wine around the world.
I think the panic is very premature and is the natural evolution of the industry. It is not a bad thing to have bulk wine produced for lower price points coming from New Zealand. California has a very robust bulk or cheap wine industry and the boutique wine industry thrives too.
In fact, the boutique wine industry in California is so robust they have their own group called Family Winemakers of California who offer legislative and marketing support for these micro producers.
It may come as a surprise to some in New Zealand, but you all ready have cheap and inexpensive wine in the USA. This ad from 2006 shows some very low price points at a time when press releases were heralding demand was exceeding supply.
You will notice a couple of very inexpensive wines from California too. The fact they exist has not “killed” the wine industry. It is just a different set of customers and expectations.
Someone has to scavenge the bottom to keep the system clean.
Fearing the dark is silly, put this low end wine in a box and move on.
The New Zealand wine story is very much like California with both large global wine companies and the micro producers who excel at crafting fine wine for a small select group of consumers. California does not produce one and only one tier of quality and consumers do not punish the region for doing so.
It might be time to take a page from the California play book and have a similar group representing “the little guys” in New Zealand. Or at least, for those that believe they are in the fine wine business to stand up and perform a Haka to the world and share their unique and wonderful stories.
This is where New Zealand excels with a rich mosaic of stories to share that are very real, very personal and most of all, evolving on a daily basis. With easy to use and low cost social media tools available today, everyone should be engaged with the global conversation of wine.
Welcome to the newest chapter of the New Zealand wine experience and Web 2.0.
The article mentioned can be read here Marlborough Express.
PS. The word glut was theirs not mine.