Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

For the interested, here is a sampling of the latest statistics from New Zealand Winegrowers:

In 1999 New Zealand had 334 wineries, 9000 hectares of producing area, sold 63.1 million litres of wine, exported $125.3 million worth of wine (freight on board), and the New Zealand wine consumption per capita of New Zealand wine was 10.1 litres.

In 2008 (year ending June) we had 585 wineries, 29,310 hectares of producing area, sold 87.4 million litres of wine, exported $797.8 million worth of wine (fob), and the New Zealand wine consumption per capita of New Zealand wine was 11.1 litres.

So to Wairarapa statistics. In 2003 Wairarapa had 29 grape growers (presumably who were members of NZ Wine Growers), in five years that increased to 44. The region with the most grape growers is, and always has been, Marlborough, with 254 in 2003 and 524 this year.

What about Pinot Noir? In 2002 New Zealand had 2,029 hectares of vineyard area producing Pinot Noir and by 2008 this swelled to 4,650. Producing hectares is predicted to go up only slightly in the next three years, to 4,824 in 2011. It would be interesting to know if this prediction was done prior to the international financial crisis. No surprises that Sauvignon Blanc takes up the largest production area, with 13,988 hectares in 2008, predicted to rise to 15,383 in 2011. In 2002 it was 3,685 hectares. Who drinks this?

Surprisingly, we now have more hectares producing Pinot Noir, than we do producing Chardonnay. So much for the cafe revolutionaries, they must have switched their drink.

Growth of Cabernet Sauvignon has also declined. The major varieties being grown in 2008 are, in order of percentage of total production hectares: Sauvignon Blanc (yuk) 48 per cent, Pinot Noir 16 per cent, Chardonnay 14 per cent, Merlot 5 per cent, Pinot Gris 5 per cent, Riesling 3 per cent, and Cabernet Sauvignon just 2 per cent.

That’s enough statistics for now – my eyes are glazing over and I need a glass of wine. If you want more, go to the industry website. I have to prepare myself for tomorrow in court – I am defending a parking ticket on principle. Ridiculous, I know, because it’s easier to just pay the $12, but I’m damned if I’m going to let the Wellington City Council bully me into parting with $12 when I don’t believe I should have to.

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