New Zealand achieved the fastest growth in wines selling through the UK off-trade last year, buoyed by growing interest in its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir varieties.
Sales figures for 2005 show that New Zealand wine grew in value by 44% to £102.2m last year, according to exclusive research from ACNielsen.
Australia, the number one wine producer for the UK, and the US, in third place, also grew sales significantly last year, showing respective rises of 9% and 15%.
The New Zealand wine category, led in the UK off-trade by brands Montana and Oyster Bay, also maintained the highest average price point at £5.97 a bottle, compared with the average retail price of £3.79.
“We saw strong promotions through independent wine retailers last year. We had never worked with this sector before and the results were fantastic,” said a spokesman for the country’s generic body in the UK, New Zealand Wine Growers. “We also ran successful promotions through Sainsbury and created with it a generic New Zealand feature.”
Various global drinks companies are ensuring they have a stake in the New Zealand wine industry. Pernod Ricard now owns Montana Wine and Framingham, after taking over Allied Domecq, while Australian drinks company Lion Nathan owns Wither Hills.
Canadian giant Vincor International has also invested in its Kim Crawford brand.
“The challenge for New Zealand is to educate consumers that when they pick up a Sauvignon Blanc it can taste different depending on where it was grown,” said Adrian Atkinson, Pernod Ricard’s wine development director.
“We are working on understanding what New Zealand can do best and where the varieties grow best.”
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