[31 January/ NZ Herald]

Pernod Ricard New Zealand has started to source Australian grapes for inclusion in their Montana brand wines, which have historically been made using New Zealand grown grapes. Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor bluntly called the move ‘pretty bloody dumb.’ His opinion received support from others across social media, including one commenter, Ren Hamington, who replied with ‘says it all when they think cheap plonk wins out over brand and NZ identity. Pity.’ There was some support for Pernod Ricard with some commentators saying the move was fair and necessary for profit maximisation. Pernod Ricard New Zealand Managing Director, Kevin Mapson, said that increasing demand and the rising costs of New Zealand grapes meant it was increasingly challenging to produce New Zealand sourced wine that could be sold for under $10. Over time, most of the Montana Classic and Affinity wines would be made from Australian grapes, Mr Mapson added.