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New Zealand wages wine war on alcohol and calories in 'lifestyle' quest

By Ben Bouckley+

05-Dec-2013

Glasses of red and white at a winery in Bannockburn, Cromwell, New Zealand (Picture: Megan Evans/Flickr)
Glasses of red and white at a winery in Bannockburn, Cromwell, New Zealand (Picture: Megan Evans/Flickr)

New Zealand is investing NZ $16.97m in its largest ever wine R&D project to secure leadership in premium quality lower alcohol and lower calorie ‘lifestyle wines’.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) said: “This program will capitalize on the domestic and international market demand for high quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol ‘lifestyle’ wines.”

He explained that it would do so by developing new natural techniques for grapevine growth and wine production and developing viticulture and winery tools

The New Zealand government is contributing NZ $8.13m to the project (worth US $13.89m) over seven years, with a broad-based industry coalition funding the balance; co-investors in include NWZ itself and wineries from across the country – Constellation NZ, Forrest and Yealands Estate Wines are just a few names.

“Our point of difference will be producing premium wines that can be naturally produced using sustainable viticultural techniques and native yeasts – providing an important point of difference to existing processing methods,” Gregan said.

“The program will produce tangible outcomes for the grape and wine industry and the economy as a whole,” he added.

Justine Gilliland, primary growth partnership director at New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries, said the program had the potential to strengthen the nation’s reputation as a fine wine supplier worldwide.