Marlborough grape growers optimistic
The Marlborough wine industry is the most optimistic about trading conditions out of the country's seven wine regions, according to a national business confidence wine survey.
The biannual report by accountancy firm Markhams said that more than half of Marlborough respondents believed that trading conditions were better than a year ago, with 92 per cent expecting conditions to improve or remain the same.
In line with last year's predictions, 33 per cent of respondents stated that conditions had remained the same, while 13 per cent said they had worsened.
Almost three-quarters of Marlborough respondents believed the quality of this vintage would be worse than last year's, with the remainder optimistic for an improved product. All other regions expected an improvement or the same level of quality.
Wither Hills general manager Geoff Matthews agreed that the outlook for the wine industry was positive.
Oversupply had been the leading issue over the last couple of years, but with a lighter vintage this year, which was also likely next year, producers were falling back in line with the market.
Another reason for optimism was expansion in domestic and overseas markets, including in Australia, the United States and Britain.
Nautilus Estate winery manager/winemaker Clive Jones said there was "cautious room for optimism". Trading conditions had not been any easier compared to last year, he said.
However there was good reason to be optimistic if producers remained flexible and took advantage of changing markets.
Lawson's Dry Hills owner Barbara Lawson there was a general feeling in Marlborough that trade conditions were slightly improving.
Producers in Marlborough cited export growth as the biggest opportunity at 87 per cent, up from 55 per cent last year, while 67 per cent said the biggest threat was exchange rates, the report said.
Marlborough was among the wine regions least confident about the Government's policies for the industry, with Nelson and Wairarapa recording no confidence.
Confidence has also dropped around the rest of the wine regions; on average, 77 per cent of those surveyed believed the Government did not have the best policies for the industry, a dramatic shift from last year when an average of 60 per cent said it had the most positive polices.
Bad weather, bulk wine and volatile exchange rates had placed pressure on an already fragile wine industry.