Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Investing in taste of New Zealand’s wine future

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has officially opened New Zealand Wine Centre – Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa in Blenheim today.

Funding of $3.79 million for the Marlborough Research Centre to build a national wine centre was announced in 2020 as one of the first substantial investments in Marlborough from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.

“Like many a fine wine, our viticulture and winemaking industries continue to grow economically over time and are now one of our country’s biggest export earners,” said Economic and Regional Development Minister, Stuart Nash.

“Currently bringing in nearly $2 billion a year, these exports will only continue to grow as our new FTAs with the UK and EU come into force, providing even greater economic security to New Zealanders.

“The New Zealand Wine Centre will help our already world-renowned wine producers stay ahead of global trends in wine by developing new products and helping to tackle issues such as the impact of climate change on the sector.”

Minister Nash said the winemaking sector had a huge impact on the national and regional economy, and accounts for one in five jobs in the Marlborough region. The most recent Marlborough Regional Workforce Plan projects a job growth of 17% for the wine industry, and the Wine Centre will support the development of specialist skills needed for new high-skilled jobs, he said.

“As announced earlier, we’re also supporting the viticulture sector by making the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), creating 3,000 additional places and providing workforce relief to the wine sector.”

“I’m proud to see such a centre of excellence be based in the heart of New Zealand wine country, Marlborough, where over three-quarters of our exported wines are produced,” the Minister said.

At the opening, a variation to Marlborough Research Centre’s existing funding agreement was also announced, reallocating $770,000 of the existing $3.79 million investment at their request towards the construction and development of a new state-of-the-art Experimental Future Vineyard.

“It’s fantastic to see the plan for the Experimental Future Vineyard, which I know will be a huge asset to our winemaking industry, and help foster cutting-edge Kiwi innovation. It will support sustainable growth in the sector by making use of automation and robotic technologies to prepare for a digital future. This will bring our local winemakers to a whole new level.”

“The Wine Centre and Experimental Future Vineyard confirm Marlborough’s place as the preeminent location for research and innovation for New Zealand’s wine industry, attracting local and international talent,” said Mr Nash.

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