Halewood International is launching a new Romanian wine brand that it hopes will boost consumer perceptions of Romania as a wine-producing country in the UK.

The new Surprisingly Good range, comprising a pinot noir and pinot grigio (rsp: £5.99), has been developed on the back of an 18-month trade campaign run for Romanian pinot noir by the drinks wholesalers, which started in early 2013.

Halewood used the ‘Surprisingly Good’ tagline to boost trade and consumer awareness and establish Romania as more than just a producer of an entry-level wine, which it said had resulted in increased listings with Waitrose’s own-label range, Laithwaites and Morrisons.

“It captured the trade’s interest so well that we have launched it as a range with a very eyecatching label with great shelf standout,” said Halewood International sales and marketing controller Fran Draper.

Sales of Romanian wine had doubled over the last year to about 180,000 cases, she added, and the brand hoped to establish the Surprisingly Good range, which launches in Morrisons later this year, as a “volume” rather than niche brand.

Morrisons wine sourcing manager for Eastern Europe Katie Mollet said Romania was a country with “lots of untapped potential for wine,” which produced great value, easy drinking wines.

“It is much easier to encourage customers to try wines from countries such as Romania when the wines are made from key recognisable grape varieties,” she added.

Mintel senior drinks analyst Chris Wisson said the accessible packaging of the Surprisingly Good brand would help gear it towards mass market consumption but warned that country of origin remained influential. “People may know that they like Chilean reds or New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but apart from the more connoisseurial wine drinkers, I suspect that many may still be unaware of the progress being made by these newer wine-producing countries,” he said. “As a result, producers may struggle to achieve truly mass market volume sales as the the majority of people are still more likely to shop primarily by grape type.”