New Zealand winemakers have "put vineyards to sleep", left grapes on vines and even unearthed roots to avoid the sort of oversupply crisis that has hit Australian wine.

Industry body New Zealand Winegrowers, which represents brands such as Montana and Marlborough, announced last week that the 2010 vintage would be 10% to 15% lower in yield than last year because of new measures taken to control supply.

Last year, following an increase in new plantings and a bumper harvest in 2008, NZW urged suppliers to cut back on yield or risk cheapening the image of the country's wine.

"We're really cutting back on the 2010 vintage," said David Cox, NZW's director for Europe. "We think a lower vintage and increasing demand in markets around the world will bring supply and demand back in balance by 2011."

Exports of New Zealand wine to the UK are growing fast, up 46% in volume and 36% in value year-on-year [Nielsen MAT 27 December].

Retailers' promotional activity had aided the growth, as had increased distribution and an average price per bottle of above £6 [Nielsen], said Cox.

The New Zealand wine industry was eager to learn from the oversupply problems that were blighting Australian wine, he added.

"In Australia the real wake-up call has been how quickly you can damage your wine's reputation," he said. "New Zealand winegrowers have built up a good reputation, but that could be lost in just one year if consumers perceive that New Zealand wine is too often available at everyday lower prices."