Quality Not Quantity
New Zealand’s wineries are “fighting to preserve their reputation as premium wine producers, even as bumper harvests and thrifty drinkers pull them in the opposite direction,” writes Alexandra Harney for The New York Times. The introduction of Cloudy Bay’s chief winemaker Kevin Judd’s first vintage label Greywacke comes at a time of reckoning for New Zealand’s wineries. New Zealand is desperate to avoid the fate of neighbouring Australia. A surge in investment drove that country’s wine exports up from 151 million litres in 1996-97 to 786 million litres in 2006-07, but bulk sales to supermarkets have lowered both prices and cachet. Exports slipped to 750 million litres in 2008-09. “We can’t compete and remain viable if we are producing bulk wine,” said Marcus Pickens, marketing manager for industry association Wine Marlborough. New Zealand’s smaller size, high labour costs, and cool climate make it harder for the country to sustain the big yields that volume production requires, Pickens added. Greywacke, then, could be seen as Judd’s attempt to keep New Zealand wine small but beautiful.