[6 February/Otago Daily Times]

After a disappointing northern hemisphere harvest in 2017, changes were expected in the global wine sector during 2018. Grape scarcity, higher prices, changes in trade agreements and increased mergers and acquisitions were some of the key factors expected to dominate the global wine industry according Rabobank’s quarterly wine report. During the nine months to September 2017, wine imports from New Zealand rose by 12% in value. This was mainly due to the rapid shift away from bottled towards bulk wine imports according to RaboResearch Senior Beverages Analyst, Maria Castroviejo. She added that for certain products, higher prices can be relatively easily transferred to the consumer. In other markets, the higher prices are likely to result in lower volumes. Ms Castroviejo also noted that China has become the fifth largest wine importer in the world, with the knowledge and experience of operators in the country rapidly increasing.