New Zealand wine conference

08 February 2010

More than 80 top international and New Zealand wine researchers and industry representatives will meet in Auckland this week for a global conference that will debate ways of safeguarding the industry’s collective assets.

The 5th International Conference of the Academy of Wine Business Research, starting on February 8 with the theme ‘Enterprise Diversity and the Business of Wine’, is being hosted by The University of Auckland Business School and Faculty of Science.

It has attracted international delegates from countries such as South Africa, South America, the United States and Canada, and from European countries including France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Austria and Germany.

As well as winery tours and a South Island trip, conference-goers will be addressed by keynote speaker and world wine research guru Associate Professor Tony Spawton from the University of South Australia.

There will also be a special session on case studies in wine business, the best of which will form part of an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Wine Business Research.

Head of the Business School’s Department of Marketing Professor Rod Brodie says 15 local academics and up to 30 industry representatives will enable the international conference-goers a chance to experience a snapshot of the different New Zealand wine regions.

One of the pivotal panel sessions will look at branding New Zealand wine, and ways of balancing competing interests and identities.

“The combination of widespread price discounting, increasing bulk exports and pressures on grape prices around the country suggest that the golden weather of the past 20 years has gone,” Professor Brodie says.

“It is also clear that shared mutual interests that have made the New Zealand wine industry’s collective approach the envy of wine and other horticultural processing industries worldwide are under severe strain.

“A panel of invited industry figures and international commentators will consider what is at stake and what can be done to safeguard the industry’s collective assets.”

Other well known speakers will include brand strategist Brian Richards and Destiny Bay Vineyards and Winery’s Mike Spratt.

Presentations from the ‘olde world’ of France and Spain, and ‘new worlds’ of Chile, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will highlight significant issues such as production patterns and growth, significant supply chain issues, consumption, corporate change and key industry debates.

The conference will be held at the University’s Business School, and will finish on Wednesday.