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Published:  23 July, 2008

The New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand have combined to form a new organisation to promote, represent and research the interests of New Zealand grape growers and winemakers. New Zealand Grape Growers' Council president, Willie Crosse, said: The council and the institute have co-operated increasingly closely over the past decade.' Wine Institute chairman Peter Hubscher said, The formation of New Zealand Winegrowers is an historic moment for our industry. We have been working toward this goal for a number of years and are certain the organisation will build on the legacy and achievements of the institute and the council.' The institute and the council will transfer most of their activities to New Zealand Winegrowers, but will continue to perform their statutory functions pursuant to the Wine Makers Act, Wine Makers Levy Act and Commodities Levy Act. The Institute and the Council will provide funding to, and act as electoral colleges for, New Zealand Winegrowers. New Zealand Winegrowers will have a membership of approximately 1,000, comprising just over 600 grape growers and nearly 400 wineries. Sales by the grape growers are valued at up to NZ$100 million per year, while total sales by wineries are in excess of NZ$600 million per year, and are projected to rise to over NZ$1 billion by 2006. A board of 12, comprising seven winery representatives elected through the Wine Institute, and five grower members elected via the council, will control New Zealand Winegrowers' activities. The new organisation will operate from the existing premises of the Wine Institute in Auckland.