16 Mar 2012

Business confidence in wine industry is down

6:57 am on 16 March 2012

A business confidence survey of the wine industry shows that trading conditions nationally for wine companies are worse than they were a year ago.

Accountancy firm Markhams conducts the survey every six months, questioning more than 500 companies from Auckland to Central Otago.

The survey found that bulk wine sales, volatile exchange rates, adverse weather, a lack of confidence in Government policies and the vagaries of grape supply and demand all impacted on the industry.

Of the companies which responded to the survey, 44% are trading profitably, up from 38% in January last year.

Hamish Pringle from Markhams says nationally, wine companies rated the exchange rate as being the biggest threat to making some export markets, such as the United States and Continental Europe, uncompetitive.

He says the percentage of wine companies which are confident in the Government stimulating the industry, dropped dramatically from Markhams survey before the November general election.

In Hawke's Bay 66% of companies expressed little or no confidence.

Mr Pringle says a predicted drop in the tonnage of grapes harvested this year hasn't been reflected in improved prices for growers.