Hospitality Business Magazine

New Zealand wine to face export challenge

rsz_nz_wineChinese regulations that caused upheaval in New Zealand’s infant formula industry two years ago are set to be extended to wine exporters.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed it is aware of the move, saying the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) will require registration of wineries (and honey) producers from 2017. “The registration requirements will apply to all countries that export wine and honey to China, including New Zealand,” an MPI spokesman said.

New Zealand infant formula manufacturers were thrown into a state of flux in May 2014 when the registration requirement was introduced for that industry. China has also introduced registration for meat and seafood exporters in recent years.

A traceability programme for prepackaged wine might also be introduced to combat the large amount of fake imported wine sold in China, according to the report. New Zealand exported $27.1 million of wine to China in the year to June 2015, making it a significant growth market.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan told the New Zealand Herald the industry group had been aware for some time of CNCA’s registration plans. The impact on winemakers would depend on how the regulations were structured. While China only accounted for a small portion of New Zealand’s total wine exports, it was seen as a major growth opportunity for the sector. “There will be some wineries that may well be quite heavily dependent on [the Chinese market],” said Gregan.

The MPI spokesman said details of the registration requirements were not yet known and the ministry was working with the Chinese authorities. Andrew Zhu, director of market research firm Trace Research, told the Herald Chinese authorities wanted to have more control over food imports, not stop them. “In the future, New Zealand companies will be better off having a more formalised brand registered in China.” He said companies needed to anticipate and prepare for the changes ahead of their introduction.