Wine prices set to rise as grapes sought
‘‘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.