By 3 News online staff
A new research programme aims to make New Zealand the world's leading producer of high-quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol 'lifestyle' wines.
The programme – a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) between the wine industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) - is the largest research and development project to be carried out by New Zealand's wine industry.
"We're excited by this programme in providing the opportunity for further innovation in the wine industry, and the potential to strengthen New Zealand's reputation as a supplier of some of the world's finest wines," says MPI's PGP director, Justine Gilliland.
An investment of just under $17 million has been secured for the programme, with MPI contributing $8.13 million over seven years.
The programme aims to develop new viticulture and winery tools that will enable winegrowers to produce lower calorie, lower alcohol wines.
"Our point of difference will be producing premium wines that can be naturally produced using sustainable viticultural techniques and native yeasts, providing an important point of difference to existing processing methods," says New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan.
It's hoped the programme will "produce tangible outcomes" for the wine industry and the New Zealand economy.