CONDITIONS DELIVERING GROWTH AND JOBS FOR PROVINCIAL NZ

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

Waimea Estates Wines are a great example of the success possible when farmers further diversify into niche-market products that can win the world over, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said tonight.

"This is another story which confirms that economic conditions the National party has put in place are creating growth and jobs for provincial New Zealand.

"These conditions have been hard fought for and New Zealand cannot afford to throw them away. Going backwards now would destroy confidence for investors," she said.

Mrs Shipley officially opened the new Cellar-Door and Café at Waimea Estates Wines in Nelson, as they released their 1999 vintages.

"This is another wonderful addition to New Zealand's booming wine industry, which contribute to total New Zealand wine exports of $140 million in August.

"Their recipe is simple but very effective - produce a superior quality product, focus on exporting and invest in marketing. This is giving Waimea the edge in an increasingly competitive market and it's working."

In 1997 Waimea Estates produced 1,000 cases of sauvignon blanc; in 1998 they established a winery and doubled production to 2,000; this year looks set to produce 5,000 cases. By 2006 Waimea will have a potential production of 50,000 cases.

50% of the current vintage will be exported, and by 2002 they aim to increase this to 80%.

"And its creating employment. Waimea Estates has created around 10 full time jobs, including agents based in Auckland and Wellington, plus up to 20 extra seasonal jobs.

"This new complex is kiwi ingenuity at its best, and gives tourists one more reason to visit the Nelson region. It's worked very well in Marlborough, and has great potential in Nelson that will benefit the whole regional economy.

"Today we are celebrating Waimea's entry into the Australia and United States' markets. I feel confident it won't be too long before we're back to celebrate their foray into the French market," said Mrs Shipley.

For two decades Trevor and Robyn Bolitho have been one of Nelson's largest pipfruit orchardists, but in 1993 they made the decision to diversify a large proportion of their land to grapes, establishing Waimea Estates Wines.

With just two vintages to their name, their sauvignon blancs and reislings have already won numerous medals and awards.