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Gov't backs New Zealand wine in China, U.S., northern Europe

(Xinhua)

08:33, August 03, 2012

WELLINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government's trade agency is to invest 2.1 million NZ dollars (1.7 million U.S. dollars) in promoting the country's wine in China, the United States and northern Europe, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced Thursday.

The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) program would help build awareness of the New Zealand brand and take a collaborative and concerted approach to positioning New Zealand wine at the premium end of the market, Joyce said in a statement.

"The New Zealand wine industry is an important earner for the country, contributing more than 1 billion NZ dollars in export revenue each year," Joyce said.

"In China, our free trade agreement presents a window for New Zealand companies to benefit from tariff reductions that are not available to exporters from other countries, while northern Europe is a large market where consumers don't have pre-conceived ideas about our wines and are interested in premium brands," he said.

"Last month there was a comprehensive road show in Beijing and Shanghai targeting Chinese wine trade, media and thought leaders, as well the showcase of New Zealand wines at the Vinexpo Asia Pacific trade show in Hong Kong.

"The goal is that within five years we will build a solid brand platform upon which New Zealand wineries and New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) can thrive. We are looking to see significant increases in wine exporters to China and to northern Europe over time."

Last month, NZW, the industry organization, said it would begin targeting of wine drinkers in the Chinese mainland market in order to encourage the rising demand to match supplies.

NZW market manager Asia Monty James told Xinhua that NZW had announced it would hold its first consumer event in Beijing next year as part of the road show and was "discussing opportunities to attract a more targeted audience" in Shanghai.

NZW was compiling a database of about 500 "key influencers" in China with the aim of unrolling consumer education programs with NZTE over the next 12 months.

In May, NZW and NZTE announced they were planning a long-term strategy to build the presence of New Zealand wine in China over the next three to five years.

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