Greystone Welcomes Greater Access to Chinese Market

North Canterbury winery welcomes changes to organic wine trade agreement with China – Certified organic winery, Greystone, located in North Canterbury’s Waipara wine region, is among the New Zealand wineries now with greater access to the Chinese market.

Thanks to an Organic Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), announced by the Organic Exporters Association of New Zealand this week, China now acknowledges NZ’s organic standards.

Greystone marketing manager Nik Mavromatis says the agreement is a huge win for the organic wine industry, with wineries like their own now able to proudly tell consumers in China their product is organic. “The MRA gives NZ wine companies greater access to one of the strongest markets in the world and helps us show consumers all the organic work we do to make our wines,” says Nik.

Greystone winemaker Dom Maxwell working at the North Canterbury vineyard

While Greystone and other NZ certified organic wineries were able to ship their product to China previously, they had to jump through hoops to gain the appropriate organic recognition, including changing labels.

“You couldn’t say you were organic unless you flew over an inspector from China and covered their fees,” says Nik. “That was going to cost us $20,000 a year, with licences needing to be renewed every year. Add in the additional labeling costs and stock management, and the MRA marks a big win for all organic wineries in New Zealand.”

Last year, Greystone exported 6,263 cases of wine to China. Nik says he expects this figure to continue ramping up, with the Chinese market keen on what New Zealand wineries have to offer. He experienced this fondness for NZ wine on trade visits to China prior to the pandemic.

“Chinese consumers have a preference for healthy and organic beverages more than any other market in the world. It’s a huge opportunity for us to promote our clean, green, organic produce to China and to show off all the hard work we do in the vineyard and beyond to achieve our organic status,” says Nik. “In addition, most of New Zealand’s top wineries such as Ata Rangi, Rippon, Neudorf, Dog Point, and many more are all organic. So now China can see the best of what New Zealand wine has to offer. This will help grow our country’s reputation in one of the fastest-growing markets for wine in the world.”

In early 2014 Greystone began the conversion from conventional to organic viticulture. By 2018, Greystone’s entire 33-hectare vineyard was certified organic with BioGro New Zealand. Most recently Greystone began work in regenerative viticulture, planting a mix of flowers and crops between their vine rows.

In a statement, Andrew Henderson, Chairman of the Organic Exporters Association of NZ, says exports of certified organic produce to China are currently worth $93 million and are likely to grow due to reduced compliance costs and the increased certainty and facilitation that this arrangement provides New Zealand exporters.

Greystone Wines - Grapes


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