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Press Release – Marlborough Labour Market Survey March 2016

Press Release

March 14, 2016


Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry


The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6444 hectares by 2019/2020.

Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take that up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase.

The optimism and future development is coming on the back of continual growth of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in export markets such as North America and Asia. Currently this one variety has an export value of $1.2 billion.

While the growth is being welcomed by the industry, those surveyed readily admitted it will create a number of challenges, the major one being the availability of labour.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said expansion plans, which are coming from both large and small to medium sized wineries, will mean an additional 24 percent increase in worker numbers is also required in this timeframe.

“In particular, vineyards and contractors indicate they will need an additional 189 permanent workers, 600 winter Regional Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) workers and 306 summer RSE workers by 2019/20,” Mr. Pickens said. “In addition the survey indicates there will be an increase in demand for another 884 casuals across the year.”

Industry members surveyed are keen to see the current cap on RSE workers lifted, to help meet that demand.

They also believed there would be other related challenges, including the need for more accommodation, pastoral care and health services.

“More purpose built accommodation facilities are needed for permeant, casual and RSE workers,” Mr. Pickens said.

While the projected wine industry growth will provide an economic boom for the Marlborough region, Mr. Pickens said it will require a collaborative approach from the industry, community and also local and central government to help guide the industry through this next phase of development.


For further information:

Marcus Pickens – Wine Marlborough General Manager

Ph:  +64 3 577 9299

Mob: +64 21 831 820



About the Marlborough Labour Market Survey

Utilising the services of Research New Zealand to randomly select participants, the survey interviewed 16 wine companies and 35 growers in the Marlborough region. These represented 54.2 percent of the vineyard production in Marlborough.

As well, eight entities that have both wine company and grower functions were included and eight viticultural contractors were also a part of the survey. There were a total of 67 face to face interviews conducted by independent market researchers, Tara Druce and Martin Anderson for Druce Consulting.


About Marlborough

Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine region, producing 75 percent of the total national crop. The majority of that is Sauvignon Blanc, which makes up 77 percent of the region’s annual harvest.

Wine produced in Marlborough has a current export value of approximately $1.2 billion out of a combined industry total of $1.536 billion.

Despite being only 43 years old as a region, Marlborough’s vineyards now cover 23,619 hectares. The region has shown rapid expansion over the last 10 years with growth for the five years from 2006 to 2010 from 11,488 ha to 19,295 ha, a 68% increase in hectares in production.

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