latin america new zealand wine

Opportunities to Export New Zealand Wine to Latin America

Latin America is home to powerhouse wine producing regions Argentina and Chile. However, New Zealand already exports more wine than Argentina and South Africa. There are already many benefits of trade between New Zealand and Latin America. Now, an opportunity lies in promoting New Zealand as a provider of high-quality wines in the region. Below, we look at the 5-step process to export wine from New Zealand and opportunities in the Latin American wine market.

The New Zealand wine market

New Zealand wine is getting big. It has already earned itself a prestigious reputation in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. In 2018, the New Zealand wine industry reported its 23rd year of consecutive growth. Currently, it is the world’s 7th largest wine exporter with exports valued at NZ$1.7 billion. While famous for Malborough region sauvignon blancs, Central Otago pinot noirs are now also making their mark in international competitions and awards. Furthermore, a focus on sustainability and respect for the environment differentiates New Zealand winemakers from the rest.

Wine tourism is now an important sector for the New Zealand economy. 27% of all tourists that come to New Zealand visit vineyards. With a spend of $3.8 billion, it’s too big a market force to ignore. Although many tourists can buy wine directly from the cellar door to enjoy back home in their country, what happens when they want more? New Zealand wine is as common as any other on a UK supermarket shelf. However, there are still parts of the world that are not familiar with New Zealand’s high-quality wines, and they should be.

new zealand wine exports
New Zealand already exports more wine than Argentina and South Africa

New Zealand wine export process

Step 1: Meet New Zealand Requirements

Any wine produced in New Zealand must meet the following requirements in order to be exported:

  • Legal requirements are set out in the Wine Act 2003 and New Zealand Grape Wine Export Eligibility Requirements Notice which can be found on the website of Ministry for Primary Industries.
  • You must develop a Wine Standards Management Plan and have it verified by an approved body within six months of registration or before your first export (whichever is soonest). The verification will be checked every 12 months.
  • Meet labeling requirements for New Zealand (set out in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code and the Wine Act 2003) and the country you intend to import your wine into. Each country has different requirements so its recommended you touch base with an in-country expert.
  • Organic wine is subject to extra requirements.

Step 2: Check Destination Requirements

Make sure the wine you export will be accepted into its destination country. Check the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs). These may include winemaking practices and possible extra labeling or assurance requirements.

Many countries do not have OMARs, so check for any other import requirements your intended export destination might have.

Step 3: Register for Wine E-Cert

Wine producers, bottlers and exporters need to apply for Wine E-Cert, an online service that processes export applications. A registration pack of documents can be downloaded from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Step 4: Apply for Batch Approval

You need export eligibility approval for every batch of wine you plan to export. You must complete an application through the online Wine E-Cert service. For each batch of wine, two samples must be submitted to the Wine Export Certification Service (WECS).

Some overseas markets also require an official certificate verifying the chemical analysis of your wine. This service can be requested through E-Cert if necessary.

Step 5: Apply for Consignment Approval

You must get approval from the Ministry of Primary Industries to export your consignment of wine. Once you have received batch approval, you can submit the consignment request through Wine E-Cert.

If your export destination country has assurance requirements, an official assurance certificate can be requested at this stage and will be part of the approval document.

Once approved, an ‘export eligibility statement’ is available to you in Wine E-Cert and one copy is sent to your freight forwarder, as this necessary to complete an export entry with NZ Customs. The statement contains:

  • a list of each batch of wine in the consignment
  • a unique permit number to enable the wine to clear New Zealand Customs.

A quick Recap :

new zealand wine export pricess

CPTPP Effects on The Wine Market

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will strengthen trade and business between pacific-rim countries. Wine, among other products, was previously subject to high tariff restrictions and is expected to significantly benefit from the agreement. Latin American countries that form part of the agreement are Mexico, Chile and Peru (the latter two are awaiting ratification). Additionally, Colombia has made a request to join the agreement as well. Both countries will have 0% tariffs on wine once the agreement is in force.

In Mexico, tariffs for red, rose and white wine, valued at more than USD $5 per litre, will be reduced to 0% by 2020. That’s a huge reduction from the previous 20% tariff rate.

Mexico As An Export Market

mexico wine market import
Although New Zealand is famous for its sauvignon blanc, it also produces many excellent reds.

Latin America’s biggest luxury market is in Mexico, and it shows no sign of slowing down. A middle class with increased consumer spending is growing. Although a small percentage of the population, the numbers this large country create market opportunities. Additionally, many consumers are willing to pay more for organic products and wine is no exception to that trend. The ability to market New Zealand wine as a premium niche product can garner the high prices it deserves.

Although New Zealand is famous for its sauvignon blanc, it also produces many excellent reds to suit Mexican consumers’ preferred wine. However, there still exists a market for white and rose wine in Mexico’s warm climate. Wine consumption is growing in Mexico and with diminishing tariffs, now is a good time to consider entering this market.

One should also consider Mexico’s large tourism industry as a market opportunity. 10.3 million Americans visited Mexico in 2017. As a key market for New Zealand wine, distributors should look to position wine in high-end tourist destinations, resorts and restaurants. The tourist market can provide bigger returns for white and rose wine. As New Zealand wine is already the 3rd biggest player in the US market (dollar value), its Latin neighbors are expected to catch on to the buzz soon.

World Wine Trade Group

The World Wine Trade Group has an important influence in facilitating the international wine trade. Latin American member countries include Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. New Zealand is also a member. The group has negotiated treaties on winemaking processes and labeling requirements. Due to ‘mutual acceptance policy,’ any wine that fits requirements of its local market can be accepted into a member country’s market without additional testing. This policy opens the Argentinian and Uruguayan market up to Kiwi wine exporters and removes certain barriers to the exportation of wine.

Interest in Exporting Wine?

Navigating foreign business cultures can difficult, especially when you consider the many requirements necessary to stay compliant.

Get in touch with Biz Latin Hub. With countries offices located throughout Latin America, we are able to help you enter your chosen Latin American market. Our local and expatriate professionals offer personalized in-country support. We also provide back-office services such as legal, accounting, due diligence, and visa assistance.

Get in contact with us today for expert advice from our financial and legal experts. 

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Craig Dempsey

Craig Dempsey

Craig is a seasoned business professional in Latin America. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group that specializes in the provision market entry and back office services. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honors and a Master's Degree in Project Management from the University of New South Wales. Craig is also an active board member on the Australian Colombian Business Council, and likewise also active with the Australian Latin American Business Council.

Craig is also a military veteran, having served in the Australian military on numerous overseas missions and also a former mining executive with experience in various overseas jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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