Wine prices set to rise as grapes sought

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

‘‘The days of cheap Cen­tral Otago wine are gone’’. That’s the word from Cen­tral Otago Wine­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent James Dicey af­ter de­mand for Cen­tral Otago grapes has over­taken sup­ply. ‘‘There is more de­mand now, both locally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, than cur­rent sup­ply can meet,’’ Mr Dicey said. The in­crease in de­mand has pushed up the price of grapes on a ton­nage ba­sis be­tween $250 to $500. On av­er­age the re­gion pro­duces 7500 to 9000 tonnes of grapes ev­ery sea­son. Those with a taste for Cen­tral Otago wines are urged to stock up on their ‘‘favourite tip­ple’’ be­fore the price jumps, Mr Dicey said. Cen­tral Otago viti­cul­tur­ist and wine in­dus­try con­sul­tant Timbo Deaker, who is also a grape bro­ker, said the de­mand in­crease this year for Cen­tral Otago grapes was huge and ‘‘un­prece­dented’’. It was the largest jump in de­mand he had seen for Cen­tral Otago grapes in 20 years and this year he was un­able to fill or­ders for clients. A sur­plus in fruit had shifted to an un­der-sup­ply this year and sourc­ing fruit was harder as winer­ies were keep­ing more fruit for them­selves, Mr Deaker said. Misha’s Vine­yard owner Andy Wilkin­son, of Cromwell, said more wine com­pa­nies from New Zealand and over­seas were look­ing to in­vest in Cen­tral Otago. ‘‘There is more de­mand from winer­ies out­side of Otago to buy vine­yards here . . . they are see­ing Cen­tral Otago as a very good mark to have on their la­bels,’’ Mr Wilkin­son said. It was be­com­ing es­sen­tial to have a Cen­tral Otago vine­yard in their port­fo­lios, he said.

Grape de­mand up: Cen­tral Otago Wine­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent James Dicey at his Mt Dif­fi­culty vine­yard and win­ery in Ban­nock­burn last week.

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