More than $16 million is to be spent over the next seven years on the wine industry's largest ever programme of research and development.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will invest $8.13 million dollars in the primary growth partnership programme, with $8.84 million coming from the wine industry.
New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive, Phillip Gregan said the Lifestyle Wines programme aims to capitalise on market-led opportunities both in this country and overseas.
"What we are seeing around the world markets is consumers are interested in living healthier lifestyles and part of that is growing interest and concern about what they eat and drink, and we are seeing an interest in lower alcohol and calorie wines and this is the genesis of this project".
Phillip Gregan said a number of wineries are involved in the seven year project, along with researchers from Plant and Food and Auckland University.
"The results and research will obviously be made available to the whole industry, but we need to use vineyards and wineries to conduct the research and we have 16 on board actively involved in the programme ranging form the very large to the very small".
Phillip Gregan said the R & D project is all about maintaining and improving this country's wine reputation.
"Given the flavour profile of New Zealand wines and given the reputation we have in international markets for quality, we believe there is a real opportunity for the New Zealand wine industry to take a real leadership position on the production of naturally produced lower alcohol, lower calorie wines and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to reach that point but we are very confident we can do it and confident it is going to be another string in our bow in international markets".
Phillip Gregan said he expects the research to lead to changes in industry practices and outcomes well before the end of the project.