The UK is being hit by a shortage of New Zealand wine as exporters struggle with low grape volumes and strong demand.
The UK is New Zealand’s second largest export market for wine, but according to a report by the British newspaper The Independent some of the country’s favourite brands of sauvignon blanc could disappear from shelves in the run up to Christmas.
Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said it was a frustrating situation, but one the industry did see coming following two seasons of low grape yields, coupled with shipping and labour problems.
“I think it’s definitely playing out as wine companies saw and the allocation system they’ve implemented is probably seeing those volumes, you know, lower than they have been in the past.”
Pickens hoped the good reputation that New Zealand wine had established in the UK market would hold it in a good position for when volumes did recover.
“We’re a trusted, supplier, trusted region, we’ve got a lot of consumer fans,” he said.
New Zealand winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the shortage of product would vary from country to country, as different exporters had different priority markets and strategic goals.
“It’s certainly coming to the fore in the UK very quickly. It is our second largest market for New Zealand wine. So it’s one of those ones where I think it’s become visible very quickly.”
It could take a long time for a brand to get their product on the shelves of a major retailer and nobody wanted to give that up easily, Gregan said.
“To an extent, retailers understand that wines an agricultural product, that some years there are bigger harvests than others, but at the end of the day, they want to be able to make their consumers needs.”
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