Claire Hu
New Zealand is launching a marketing campaign to push Sauvignon Blanc in the UK after a record 2004 harvest, and believes it can maintain a quality image and high retail price despite the bumper crop.
The country faces increased competition from other New World producers. South Africa is promoting Sauvignon Blanc as part of its campaign to increase sales of higher priced wines.
New Zealand, which has struggled to meet demand in the past, has increased its 2004 Sauvignon Blanc harvest by 139% on 2003.
Trade group New Zealand Winegrowers will run a campaign focusing on Sauvignon Blanc, with promotions at Sainsbury next
spring including 20% off. Consumer activity in the independents includes the chance to win trips to New Zealand.
Warren Adamson, European Wine Manager at Villa Maria, said the country was well-placed to start fulfilling its potential in the UK, its biggest export market for Sauvignon Blanc. “The record harvest could not have come at a better time. Through the campaign, we will continue to educate people about why New Zealand wine is worth that bit extra. It’s the sheer uniqueness of our style that will succeed. Countries like South Africa, Australia and Chile see us as the place to catch up with.”
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc recently took all the golds and main trophy in the category at the International Wine and Sprit Competition. At an average £6.12 a bottle, it has the highest UK price for the varietal.
However, Su Birch, chief executive of marketing group Wines of South Africa, believes it can compete on Sauvignon Blanc. “We have a very complex terroir so we can offer a more interesting diversity of tastes.”
The WSA’s strategy over the next year focuses on selling bottles priced £5-plus. A generic retail campaign with the multiples is being planned.