17 Dec 2009

Grapegrowers vote to continue levy

5:58 am on 17 December 2009

Grapegrowers have voted overwhelmingly to keep paying a levy on the grapes they produce for wine making.

A vote is required every six years on the levy.

At the current rate of 0.75% of vineyard returns, it provides the Grape Growers Council with almost $2 million per year, which it spends on research, information and advocacy services and a sustainability programme.

The council says almost 87% of growers who voted, support the levy.

President Stuart Smith says it's heartening to have such strong support from growers at a time when there are enforced production cuts and reduced prices as the wine industry responds to falling demand amid a world recession.

He says the pressure on growers heading into the 2010 harvest is even greater, with wineries tightening up their expected grape supply requirements for the next vintage.

The council has suggested New Zealand needs to cut grape production by 20,000 tonnes for the next vintage to balance supply with expected demand.